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Miami-Dade's Florida Task Force One headed west to assist in search and rescue

Miami-Dade's Florida Task Force One headed west to assist in search and rescue
Miami-Dade's Florida Task Force One headed west to assist in search and rescue 02:31

MIAMI - Dozens of rescuers from South Florida will make their way to the west coast to lend a hand in search and rescue efforts.

Thursday morning, 96 members of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue's Urban Search and Rescue team Florida Task Force took off for areas impacted by Hurricane Ian.

"We spend most of our time being in a ready state. We anticipate lots of these things to make sure we are in a position to properly go provide assistance," said team member Jeff Rouse. He said they would be starting their mission in Naples.

"This is what we are trained for and we are ready to go," said K9 handler Veronica Cordoba. "We'll be assisting family members that are missing, lost, not located, we have search dogs and we are ready to get our feet on the ground." 

She told CBS4's Peter D'Oench, "Obviously our thoughts and prayers are with the families affected and right now we just want to get out there with our dogs and help people out."

Trucks carrying boats, search dogs, and other needed resources headed to the hardest hit areas.

Chief Fire Officer Richard Rosell said the engine strike team had also been deployed. 

"We have 2 fire engines from Miami-Dade, and one each from the city of Miami, Coral Gables and Miami Beach. We are assisting in the effort to help people on the west coast and a strike team is basically a support team in the same unit."

"Really, what you see here today is a miracle. You see an incredible group of trained, professional, dedicated, totally committed men and women and some canines and all the equipment. And they're going in. They're going into this area that has been so horribly, horribly hit. And they're going to bring rescue. They're going to bring hope. They're going to bring love. It's very, very moving for me to see this operation get started here today," said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava who was there for the send-off.

The mayor said they will be there as long as needed.

"Their deployments are, I believe, 14-day shifts. So there are others behind them. So this 96 is going to do their best. And I can only tell you from what I saw at Surfside, you can't stop them. You know, they are so dedicated and committed. They work longer than their shifts. They have to be sometimes pulled out to stop their operations. So you've got people with all kinds of expertise. You've got technicians and engineers and medical personnel. We've got boats, we've got generators. We've got all-terrain vehicles. This is a total force going into an area that desperately needs our help," said Levine Cava.

Eighty members of Florida Task Force 2 were previously called up and are working in Fort Myers. 

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