NEW ORLEANS — Indiana Task Force 1 has returned to central Indiana after assisting with search and rescue efforts in Jefferson Parish, which is near New Orleans.
The team left Louisiana Friday morning and returned to Indiana Saturday afternoon.
"It's just humbling to be able to go out and not only assist our communities on the day-to-day basis but to be able to go out and assist communities in need, wherever that is around the United States," said task force leader Gerald George.
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Forty-five members of Task Force 1 were deployed to Louisiana on Friday, Aug. 27, to act as an urban search and rescue team. Of the members who were deployed, 20 were from the Indianapolis Fire Department, one was from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, 10 were civilians and the remaining represented other local fire departments.
George said when Indiana Task Force 1 is deployed, they never know what to expect.
"Sometimes, you just can't tell about tornadoes or hurricanes," George said.
Hurricane Ida was a Category 4 storm when it hit the Gulf Coast. Winds of up to 150 mph blew through Louisiana, knocking out power for all of New Orleans and in many surrounding areas. The storm also caused significant flooding and damage.
Still, George said he believes many in Louisiana and Mississippi are relieved that the storm wasn't as catastrophic as Hurricane Katrina.
"I think [it's a] relief for a lot of people who live there that they didn't have the damage, and especially the flooding, that they had 16 years ago," George said.
While on the ground, the team faced temperatures around 90 degrees and heat indices in the triple digits. Search efforts included areas that had been flooded by Hurricane Ida.
Indiana Task Force 1 was most recently deployed to Florida to help with the Surfside condo collapse search, rescue and recovery efforts.
The team spent 16 days searching the rubble.