KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) – Ohio Task Force 1 is now back after a week of rescue efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. The busses, trucks and boats are all put away and many of the members are headed back home after days of search and rescue.
Much of Ohio Task Force 1’s time was spent in North Carolina. It’s one of 20 urban search and rescue teams and is made up of 70 different agencies.
The task force has provided aide for several hurricanes in the past but this was the first time it was able to use a water rescue unit.
Team leader Doug Cope says this was a huge help especially in Lumberton North Carolina, a place that was hit hard by severe flooding.
“We were really very active in conducting water rescues some out of second story windows. One of the night crews actually pulled someone from a tree and spent the night in the tree. It’s a big difference for us . We used to just do a wide area search now can do that water competent,” Doug Cope Ohio Task Force 1 Team Leader said.
After days of little sleep and long hours the crew is back home and is proud to have helped those in need.
Ohio Task Force 1 searched 39 structures, rescued 75 people and saved 46 animals. Many of those rescues were water rescues, something new added during this deployment.
Brett Beach is a firefighter and paramedic for Miami Valley Fire and has been on 7 hurricanes with Ohio Task Force 1. He says he’s proud to have represented the Miami Valley and feels while this was a difficult experience it was very gratifying to use his unique skill set.
“You train a lot for this job and you don’t go on many of these but there is a need for this skill set and when you use it it’s really nice to be able to use it and train enough to be able to help people,” Brett Beach Rescue Squad Operator.
Ohio Task Force 1 brings its own supplies so not to drain recourses of those in the hardest hit areas. Fuel, water and the crew brought MRE’s to be able to sustain themselves.