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NYC Emergency Crews, Red Cross Head To Louisiana To Help With Ida Aftermath: 'We Want To Return The Favor'

WOODBRIDGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Tri-State Area utility crews and first responders are hitting the road to help in the recovery effort after Ida made landfall in Louisiana.

A group of Con Edison workers is among the caravan of local volunteers racing south to assist the storm-battered state.

As CBS2's Christina Fan reported Monday, they're equipped with the line trucks, bucket trucks and a desire to help.

"We're going to be going down there to restore the primary and secondary lines, possibly replace poles," Con Ed worker Jason Ricco told Fan.

READ MORECBS News Live Updates: Ida Causes Widespread Damage And Power Outages Along Louisiana Coast

Ricco is leading a team of 40 men who volunteered for the mission. They gathered early Monday morning at Thomas Edison service station, preparing for a trip that could last weeks.

Ida's powerful winds and thrashing rains plunged more than 1 million people into the dark, including all of New Orleans.

"During Sandy and all these other storms, we have crews that come up and help from other states. We want to return the favor. We want to go down and restore, because we know what it's like when you don't have power in the heat," Ricco said.

The American Red Cross in Greater New York is preparing to add to their 15 volunteers currently on the ground. Regional CEO Mary Barneby told Fan families are already showing up at the 16 shelters they set up in the Baton Rouge area alone.

"As the dust settles a little bit more, people are going to find that they have no power, that their homes may be in need to be vacated at this point, because roofs are being torn off," said Barneby.

Over the weekend, FEMA activated Urban Search and Rescue task forces in New Jersey and New York to assist in recovery efforts. Eighty-three members of the NYPD, FDNY and New York City Office of Emergency Management loaded up Sunday, headed for Baton Rouge, while New Jersey Task Force 1 arrived in Alabama.

CBS2's Christina Fan contributed to this report.

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