Waco, TX (FOX 44) — Texas A&M Task Force One is helping on the ground in Florida as Hurricane Idalia moves into the Atlantic Ocean.
The team was initially waiting in Pensacola days before the hurricane hit.
Texas A&M Task Force One is doing search-and-rescue efforts near Live Oak, Florida making sure no one is left behind.
Its leader Landon Stallings is on the ground there now and says the work is easier to manage compared to last year with Hurricane Ian.
“This storm did not have the same amount of devastation, mainly because it made landfall with an uninhabited area or a rural area without the population density,” said Stallings.
Stallings is with a team of 45 task force personnel and 4 canines.
Some of the task force members are a part of the Killeen Fire Department.
In the search and rescue, Stallings saw tree damage and families without power.
“Today, we witnessed the residents already in the recovery efforts cleaning up their properties and the power companies for restoring electrical power,” said Stallings.
The team is also collaborating with other task forces across the nation to get the job done.
Its director Jeff Saunders says each team member goes through training to be prepared.
“They’re going door to door. If the building is completely boarded up, they’ll just yell out and check to see if there’s anybody inside,” said Saunders.
If it’s an unboarded house with no one answering, canines will search the area to check for anyone present.
“If the canine found somebody, then rescue is going to be called in to try and locate those people and get them out of the collapsed structure,” said Saunders.
Task Force One could remain in Florida for up to 14 days to help in searches and damage assessments.
Saunders however thinks they’ll be done early.
“They’ll basically be done with work before 10 to 14 days I believe. The thing that most people need to know is that Florida just by itself has a urban search and rescue task forces,” said Saunders.