Oklahoma Task Force Brings Top-Tier Help To Florida

Monday, September 2nd 2019, 9:25 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Oklahomans are ready to help with rescues and recovery from Hurricane Dorian. Some are already in place, while others are still on the way.

Oklahoma Task Force 1 is stationed in Orlando at a convention center, waiting for orders to respond throughout central Florida.  70 people from fire and police departments are there, joining 17 other similar federally assigned Task Force groups to respond. 

Terry Sivadon, the commander of OK-TF1, said there are 600 people on site, in addition to local responders, ready to help.

“I'm proud that Oklahoma is a player in the game and we can come down here and assist people in a hurricane” said Sivadon.

Some of the same teams helped out in Oklahoma during flooding this summer. TF1 is equipped for search and rescue, and water rescue. They have four search dogs with them.

“They can search large areas and narrow it down to where someone needs to be rescued and it help us save more people” said Andy Little, with Tulsa Fire. “We’ve sent people, boat crews, heavy equipment, that's the resources that were requested.”

The Tulsa Area Red Cross is also deployed, with 9 people on site, and three emergency response trucks. Red Cross COO Brian Jensen said his team is planning on at least two weeks in Florida.

“So during the disaster if people are doing recovery at first they'll come through and feed from these vehicles to people who are doing cleanup, and once it's assessed the kinds of bulk supplies they need, rakes shovels, etc, we'll come back with other vehicles and distribute as well,” Jensen said.