By STEVE REILLY & ELAINE ALLEN-EMRICH
ENGLEWOOD — Area firefighters are willing, able and ready to serve Florida’s East Coast in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.
And some of them are already on their way.
Firefighters from Charlotte, DeSoto, and Sarasota counties along with the city of North Port and the Englewood Area Fire Control District were deployed early Monday to Miami. There, they will be on stand-by to assist communities in anticipation of Dorian potentially swiping the East Coast — even if the eye remains offshore.
Sarasota, DeSoto and North Port provided one engine each, while Englewood deployed two engines.
The fire departments assembled strike teams of firefighters and equipment, Englewood Fire Chief Kevin Easton said. He explained how working through the Florida Association of Fire Chiefs and the state Emergency Management, predesignated fire departments are ready to respond to help communities throughout the state.
The firefighters are on a 10-day deployment, Easton said. That deployment, however, can be extended if necessary.
The state staged strike force teams both in Miami and Orlando as the state braced for Dorian’s arrival Monday.
Charlotte County Deputy Chief Jason Fair said its agency has deployed Technical Rescue Team and Incident Management Team “in support of the state response to Hurricane Dorian.”
The Technical Rescue Team is in Miami while the Incident Management Team is in Orlando.
After the local teams left, they met up with crews and vehicles from Cape Coral, San Carlos Park, DeSoto County, Fort Myers and Estero.
Nathan File works for Charlotte County Rescue and lives in North Port. He is a member of the of a team designated with the state as TRT-634, a quick deployable technical rescue team specializing in disaster rescue both natural and man made.
“We are capable of high-angle rescue, confined-space rescue, vehicle and machinery rescue, trench rescue, structural collapse rescue, swift-water rescue, as well as wide area search,” File wrote to the Sun while traveling to Florida International University in Miami on Monday afternoon.
“Our current mission assignment is to respond and stage at FIU in Miami,” he wrote. “After the storm has passed, a Rapid Needs Assessment Team, local municipalities, and aircraft will deploy to assess the damage. If no to minimal damage is reported, we will follow the storm north up the east coast of Florida and continue to wait for assessments. If there is damage that overwhelms the local municipalities then we will deploy and begin search and rescue efforts on what ever may be needed or requested for life/hazard mitigation,” he wrote.