Utah Task Force 1 helping Hurricane Ida response in Louisiana
Aug 30, 2021, 12:25 PM | Updated: 1:26 pm
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY — Five specially trained first responders from Utah deployed to the Gulf Coast over the weekend and are prepared for anything. They also carry with them lessons learned from a similar devastation from 16 years ago — Hurricane Katrina.
Hurricane Ida battered Louisiana before finally being downgraded to a tropical storm Monday morning.
Utah Task Force 1 will help with search and rescue efforts.
“Today was the first day since the storm made landfall. Today was the first day they’ve been out,” program manager Bryan Case said.
— Derek Petersen (@Derek_Photog) August 30, 2021
The team will conduct searches on the ground and by boats. There’s widespread damage, flooded roads and collapsed buildings.
“Primarily, we’re out looking for affected members of the population that either couldn’t evacuate or did not evacuate,” Case said.
It’s a desperate search, much like what many of the members experienced 16 years ago with Hurricane Katrina.
“It was just utter devastation everywhere we went,” Case said. “To see homes wiped off their foundation, to see full barges picked up out of the ocean and moved inland. It’s pretty powerful.”
Case said his team is ready to use their experience once again.
“I understand that the power’s out, there’s a lot of buildings that have been damaged, a lot of water damage. And so I think it’s going to play out much like we experienced back then 16 years ago.”
Utah Task Force 1 is scheduled to be in Louisiana for two weeks, but their mission could be extended and more resources could be launched at any time, depending on the need.