Indiana Task Force 1 assigned to Long Island community


Update: Indiana Task Force 1 Battalion Chief Neal Thomas says the unit has been assigned to assist the search and rescue effort in Westbury, New York, which is located on Long Island.

A total of 80 men and women - members of Indiana Task Force 1 - left late last night--this is their home base - and arrived early this morning in Akron, Ohio, where they are waiting on orders of exactly where to go. This is a specialized urban search and rescue team made up mainly of Central Indiana firefighters who work under orders from FEMA.

Also, various personnel including emergency medical technicians, financial planners, public information officers and other volunteers will assist people in hurricane-stricken areas.

"The emergency medical folks will do what they do here. They will be supporting needs at the local level if they're deployed by the state. It could range from taking 911 calls to assisting in emergency evacuations of hospitals, nursing homes or other places that may be in harm's way," said Joe Wainscott, Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

State and local governments organized the trip. The first team has already flown out and the rest will be driving, since many flights to the East Coast are already seeing cancellations.

This team was called up in support of Hurricane Katrina relief in 2005. Most recently, they were deployed after the tornados in Henryville. Their specialty is saving lives by getting into the most devastated areas and bringing out and treating live victims.

They are tough, equipped to handle recovery missions. They have cadaver dogs, if that becomes necessary. About 20 of the task force members are relatively new to the job.

"For many of the new team members, this will be their first federal deployment," said Task Force 1 Commander Thomas Neal. "So they don't come as often, but when they do, they typically tend to be a big event like a hurricane - like this particular storm."

In all, Indiana is sending 107 people and 44 vehicles to help. They will be on duty through Nov. 1.

More from IDHS:

As of Monday morning, Indiana has deployed the state Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT), two All Hazards Incident Management Teams (AHIMT) and five Emergency Medical Services Teams (or EMS Strike Teams). There are no further requests at this time.

Incident Management Team deployment

A 15-person Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) has been deployed to Maryland. They left Indiana at 6 a.m. Sunday and arrived in Maryland at 10 a.m. The team includes public safety professionals from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Indiana University, Indiana Department of Correction, Integrated Public Safety Commission, Indiana Office of Technology, Montgomery County, the City of Lafayette, Indiana State Police and the Family and Social Services Administration.

An All Hazards Incident Management Team (AHIMT) from District 2 has also been deployed to Maryland to assist in the response. Additionally, District 7 AHIMT is going to New York.

All incident management teams will be deployed until November 11, unless their assignment is extended.

Other than the state IMAT, the AHIMTs and ambulance strike teams are local responders who volunteer to be part of the task forces and whose employers support their participation.

Medical Strike Team deployment

Ambulance strike teams from Districts 1, 2, 4, 6, and 7have been deployed. Each of the five districts staffed a strike team.

On Sunday, units and personnel from Districts 2, 4, and 7 were deployed to New Jersey before noon. There are 15 ambulances total and 27 personnel. Each district had 5 ambulances.

Last night, 9 more ambulances were deployed to New Jersey from District 6 and District 1. There are 27 personnel. District 1 has 4 ambulances. District 6 has 5 ambulances.

Both teams will assist however they are needed, but some anticipated actions are evacuation of hospitals and nursing homes. They also will stand by to provide response assistance (such as accidents, injuries, illness) as directed. Unless extended, they will return to Indiana on November 1.

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