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Local volunteers help during hurricane aftermath, local firefighters on standby

Local volunteers help during hurricane aftermath, local firefighters on standby
Posted at 11:15 PM, Sep 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-29 01:15:34-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — More than a dozen local American Red Cross volunteers are ready to help out during the hurricane and recovery efforts afterward. Local firefighters are also on standby and will be ready to deploy if they’re needed.

Seven American Red Cross volunteers are already on the ground in Florida helping with relief efforts. Before the storm, they moved truckloads of cots, blankets. comfort kits and thousands of relief supplies to Florida.

Today, they joined more than 500 trained American Red Cross disaster workers in the area. Now, they're helping at shelters for people who evacuated due to the storm and are ready to help as many as 60,000 people.

“We have numerous shelters open, and numerous evacuation centers here supporting the communities and counties of central Florida,” said Thea Wasche, an American Red Cross volunteer from southeastern Colorado.

Eight more local volunteers with American Red Cross will deploy to Florida on Friday and Saturday after the storm is over.

Yesterday, FEMA also issued an advisory for the Colorado Task Force. They put first responders from 23 different fire departments in the state on standby. When that happens, firefighters prepare for the potential of getting deployed.

“They’re working on getting everything loaded onto the trucks to be transported, and making sure all the inventories are done and up to par,” said Chad Herdt, with Black Forest Fire. “We all get into contact with one another and talk on the phone to help us get prepared for leaving. We also contact our families and get them prepared for us being gone for up to 14 days.”

Herdt is one of the firefighters who’s ready and on standby, but he said it’s unlikely he’ll get deployed since there are resources much closer to Florida. Either way, him and many others will be ready to deploy in a matter of hours if they get the call.

Local firefighters are used to fighting wildfires and fires in open spaces. Meanwhile Herdt has also been deployed to a hurricane in Louisiana before, and he says everyone on the task force is a water rescue specialist.

“We have an extensive training in dealing with swift water, moving water, hurricane-flooded areas. We go through extensive training on that, as well as structural collapse, and everything that is associated with hurricane building collapse,” said Herdt.

News5 also reached out to COS Utilities, who said they will not be sending crews to Florida because there are resources closer.


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