(Memphis) Eighty local firefighters and civilians making up Tennessee Task Force 1 left for Virginia Monday night to assist in disaster recovery from Hurricane Sandy.
The team is one of eight task forces called upon from across the country. They will be gone about seven to 10 days, with a possible extension if the situation requires more of their help.
“I’m a little bit excited; also nerve-wracking, leaving my family at home. I got two kids under two, so I know my wife will be busy,” said Louis Davis, a rescue technician.
This is Davis’s first deployment with TN-TF-1.
He is qualified to help with hazardous materials, confined space, and structural collapse, among other things.
Like many on this task force, he predicted he may be deployed once he saw the news coverage on Sandy.
But he and others were given only about four hours’ notice when it came time to activate the task force.
“I was actually on duty at the fire department, and I got a call. We had to get my shift covered.”
Battalion Chief Keith Staples said their team was last called upon to assist with Hurricane Gustave.
“If there are any victims, any casualties, certainly to locate those. We’re also taking our K9,” Staples said.
Because they can never predict exactly what they will encounter, semi-trucks are carrying all kinds of resources, like tools to shore up buildings.
They train constantly year-round for moments like this. Even though it’s tough to prepare their families for their sudden departure, they know other families need them now.
Davis said, “They’re going through a horrible time right now and just hope we can make a difference.”