Oklahomans head to Florida to assist with Hurricane Dorian

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UPDATE: OKTF-1 personnel arrived in Dothan, Alabama late Saturday night and stayed in a hotel. They will now head to Orlando instead of Tallahassee. They will be located at a convention center where they will meet up with Tulsa OKTF-1 and work under the TXTF-1 Incident Support Team. 

OKLAHOMA CITY – Crews left Oklahoma on Saturday to head to Florida to assist ahead of Hurricane Dorian.

“It’s a little scary because we never know what’s going to happen,” said Doris Baker, Oklahoma Red Cross nurse.

Teams were up early on Saturday morning to make their way to the east coast, but it’s for a good reason.

“We’re deploying as a Type 3 structural collapse urban search and rescue team,” said Brad Smith, Oklahoma City Fire Department Battalion Chief. “We have 40 personnel and all the equipment. We have 3 canines to help search and rescue in the state of Florida. We also have water rescue capabilities.”

Along with the Oklahoma City Fire Department, Oklahoma’s Red Cross is also getting a head start on Hurricane Dorian.

“This is something where we have volunteers who go and help with health services, who will be helping with sheltering. Who will be taking these emergency response vehicles and helping with feeding and providing supplies to communities that are impacted,” said Mary Jane Coffman, Oklahoma Red Cross Disaster program manager.

Both groups are expected to be on the east coast for the next two weeks. Their first stop: Florida.

“We’ll be reporting to staging in Tallahassee, Florida and from there, we’ll get an assignment,” Smith said.

They plan to move along the coast as the storm changes course, helping wherever needed.

“I’m from Oklahoma. We have tornadoes. I’ve seen all that devastation. I’ve done search and rescue. So, I kind of know what to look for,” Baker said.

The Red Cross said nationally over 600 people are planning to assist. Even though they’re prepared for the worst, their wish is to not be needed at all.

“I hope nobody gets hurt. I hope it turns and goes somewhere else,” Baker said.

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