The 41 members of Nebraska Task Force One are on the ground in North Carolina and ready to assist the victims of Hurricane Florence.
Roger Bonin with the Lincoln Fire Department is leading the team and says they are stationed at a shelter in Hope Mills, a suburb of Fayetteville.
The outer bands of Hurricane Florence arrived at their location this morning with heavy rain and 40 mph wind. Bonin says one team member has been assigned to the Cumberland County Emergency Operation Center. Task Force One has been divided into two groups and are ready to be dispatched.
Their main mission will be water rescue and evacuation. Bonin says, “The difference between a rescue and evacuation is that a rescue is when someone is in eminent danger. Evacuation is the water has risen and people need to get out of there. The plan is to dispatch local resources first. If the local resources are unable to do that then they will send in our team.”
Bonin says one of their biggest concerns is getting to the rescue location. They are unfamiliar with the roads and avoid those covered with water. A local guide has been assigned to the group to help lead them to locations. Bonin adds their personal safety is another concern. In addition to flood waters there are fire ants and poisonous snakes.
Nebraska Task Force One is made up of firefighters from Omaha, Papillion, Lincoln and Grand Island.