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To the rescue: New York’s Finest and Bravest gear up to help Hurricane Ida victims

Police officers Christina Orlando and Jeremy Lucca with canines Lindsay and DMO prepare for deployment from Brooklyn to Hurricane Ida in Louisiana.
Photo by Kevin Duggan

Hurricane Ida delivered her fury to Louisiana on Sunday, and members of the NYPD and FDNY quickly got to work, getting ready to head to the storm zone and help rescue survivors in the days and weeks to come.

A team of 83 specially-trained NYPD police officers and FDNY firefighters joined the response and recovery efforts for Hurricane Ida in Louisiana this weekend.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency activated Urban Search and Rescue – New York Task Force 1 to deploy from the New York City Emergency Management’s support center at Flushing Avenue in Brooklyn to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Sunday afternoon.

The team is one of 28 FEMA can send out within six hours of activation, and they departed for Cajun Country at about 6 pm Sunday night, Aug. 29.

Ida ripped through Louisiana 16 years to the day Hurricane Katrina ravaged the state and the Gulf Coast. The August 2005 storm left more than 1,800 people dead, and much of New Orleans under water when the levees were breached — an outcome not expected to be repeated this time around due to the massive reinforcement system installed during Katrina’s aftermath.

NYPD police officers get ready to deploy from Brooklyn to Hurricane Ida in Louisiana on Aug. 29.Photo by Kevin Duggan

Nevertheless, Ida brought her massive storm surge, heavy rains and 150 mph winds to Louisiana this Sunday, submerging low-lying coastal areas, destroying homes and power grids, and putting countless people in danger. It’s anticipated that the recovery effort will take many long weeks.

Battalion Chief Joe Downey, who was part of the FDNY’s response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, said he’s confident there would be plenty for the New York rescue contingent to do when it arrived in the Pelican State.

“A lot of our work will probably be swift water operations considering the surge,” Downey said. “A lot of our guys have been out before and are looking forward to going down there to help. I believe that there’ll be a good amount of work for our guys to do.” 

NYC Emergency Management Department Commissioner John Scrivani added that the Five Boroughs are ready and willing to answer the call for Louisiana.

“This is a large undertaking by FEMA and all of the support agencies,” he said. “New York City is again happy to answer the call beyond the Five Boroughs as we’ve done for years.” 

New York City Emergency Management Department Commissioner John Scrivani briefs press outside a Brooklyn support center before 83 first responders were deployed to Louisiana for Hurricane Ida on Aug. 29.Photo by Kevin Duggan

Urban Search and Rescue – New York Task Force 1 includes 42 members of the NYPD Emergency Services Unit and 40 FDNY personnel, including EMS members. Six search-and-rescue canines were also brought along for assistance.

The team members traveled to Louisiana with a convoy including three tractor trailers, two box trucks, three pickup trucks, four swift-water rescue boats and eight vans. They’ll have all the equipment they need to handle rescues of all kinds, including devices for confined rescues and medical support supplies.

Some of the members of New York’s Urban Search and Rescue team were recently deployed to Florida to respond to the deadly Sunrise condo collapse.

This story first appeared on amNewYork.

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