SARASOTA — Responding to the threat of Hurricane Florence, the Sarasota County Fire Department sent three ALS ambulances with six paramedics to the Carolinas.

These personnel were joined at Station 8 on Bee Ridge Road by two ambulances and six personnel from Lee County and departed for Raleigh, North Carolina, on Tuesday afternoon.

They arrived in Raleigh on Wednesday morning, according to Ashley Lusby, a spokeswoman for the department.

“It is a tremendous opportunity and honor for the members of Sarasota County Fire Department to be able to serve the residents and community members of North Carolina,” Sarasota County Fire Chief Michael Regnier wrote in an email. “We are proud of our men and women who are assisting others in their time of need.”

In brief comments at the start of Wednesday’s Sarasota County Commission meeting, Commissioner Charles Hines offered praise to the personnel who had volunteered for the mission and the sacrifice they and their families were making.

By email, Sarasota County Emergency Management Director Rich Collins responded to Hine’s comment.

“Just one year ago, the State of Florida and Sarasota County was impacted by Hurricane Irma. Across Florida assistance was needed and generously provided through State and Federal partners,” Collins wrote. “Help came from across the state and country. Today, citizens and governments along the East Coast are in harm’s way from Hurricane Florence. Sarasota County Fire Department and our government are proud of our first responders and their support of the response effort for those in need. We will continue to support that effort as long as necessary.”

Charlotte County Fire & EMS is not currently sending mutual aid but has committed to sending one rescue ambulance if asked, according to spokesperson Todd Dunn.

“If it gets bad up there, the request will filter down to us,” he said.

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office would support another law enforcement agency if they requested help from the agency’s Emergency Response Team.

“The sheriff would receive the request and evaluate our ability to help based on staffing and the requesting agency’s needs,” said spokesperson Katie Heck.

Englewood Area Fire Control District officials said they did not receive a request to send anyone or equipment, but will be ready to go if asked. The city of Venice had also not received a request for assistance, according to city spokeswoman Lorraine Anderson, but would respond if asked.

“We’ll have something ready to go,” Venice Fire Chief Shawn Carvey said.

Tina Adams, the liaison to Longboat Key Fire Department, said her department had not received a request for assistance either.


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