hurricane ian

Mass. FEMA Task Force Responds to Florida to Help Ian Search and Rescue Efforts

The team has called "the level of destruction and damage" "heartbreaking"

Mass Task Force FEMA MA-TF1

A FEMA Task Force from Massachusetts that's in the Fort Myers, Florida area to help with the devastation left in Hurricane Ian's wake said its operations are becoming more efficient, in the crew's latest update on its response.

Massachusetts Task Force 1 (MA-TF1) said that it's "fully integrated" with law enforcement and EMS partners, and Wednesday, was assigned to perform targeted secondary searches and sweeps in the area. Six squads worked to complete both tasks, and were able to complete them.

Not many people are on the island, but those that the squads found "are extremely grateful" for their presence, the update said.

Targeted searches are assigned when a more-thorough search of an area is needed, due to things like unanswered 911 calls, critical infrastructure in the area and neighborhoods that are high-density.

The FEMA Task Force from Massachusetts has been keeping a journal-like log of its experience in Florida since it was initially deployed to respond to the aftermath of Ian. The team has called "the level of destruction and damage" "heartbreaking".

MA-TF1 is equipped and trained by FEMA and is one of 28 Urban Search and Rescue teams spread throughout the country. It's made up of firefighters, technical rescue technicians, medical professionals, canine handlers, engineers, physicians and civilians with specialty skills from communities and agencies across New England.

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