Florida Urban Search and Rescue Task Force Prepares to Respond to Hurricane Sally Aftermath

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Floridians living in the path of Hurricane Sally are staying put, inside their flooded homes until it’s safe to go out. But, while they wait, the Florida Task Force 2 team is making its way up north for search and rescue efforts.

The 45-person team is heading up to Tallahassee, with boats, trucks and high water vehicles. They’ll keep heading north as needed to help people like David Walter. He lives in Gulf Shores, Alabama, and he says his family is stuck in their flooded home.

The strong winds and rain went on for hours in the Gulf Coast overnight.

“It just battered us with more wind and rain for those three days and didn’t move,” Walter said. “When you get out of there it gets about chest deep and it’s really running swift it’ll take your feet out from under you so we’re just gonna stay here for right now.”

Urban Search And Rescue Florida Task Force 2 has been called to help out.

“The plan will be to assist with whatever local jurisdictions up there in the north Panhandle area need assistance with evacuations, water rescues and structure damage rescues,” said task force leader, Scott Dean.

He said the team could be moving up to the Panhandle.

“We should be coming in right as a hurricane passes and it’s safe, and will go in right behind it,” Dean said.

Before leaving, everyone was tested for COVID-19.

“We are testing all members for a rapid test which is a 15-minute antigen test and we will get the results today before we leave to make sure everybody’s negative,” Dean said. “We’re also doing a 24-hour test which we will get the results for tomorrow for secondary results just to be careful and cautious.”

Being careful and cautious was also on Walter’s mind, who was preparing for the worst.

“I even went and got lifejackets and put them in the bedroom for us in case we needed those, and fortunately we didn’t,” he said.

Walter said hours later the water inside his home started to go down. The rescue team is prepared to be away working for the next two weeks.

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