COLORADO SPRINGS — A group of 45 first responders from across the state of Colorado, including five from Colorado Springs, is currently at work in Louisiana. The group is responding to a call for help after Hurricane Ida struck the area on Sunday.
Colorado Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue falls under the Federal Emergency Management Agency. When FEMA makes the call, crews like CO-TF1 respond to affected communities.
“It goes hand in hand with what we currently do at the station. We do a lot of technical rescue stuff,” said CSFD Captain Bill Hull. “[We] get to work with different people across the state. You get the rescue ideas and different ways of doing things, so, it’s really an education piece. An education piece with the caveat of deploying and helping people.”
In the case of Hurricane Ida, the call came quickly.
“Friday afternoon an alert went out saying, ‘be ready.’ Friday evening… they said they were leaving,” Hull said.
Hull is a member of CSFD’s CO-TF1 crew, but he didn’t respond to Ida. CSFD has three teams—red, white and blue—to respond to FEMA’s call. This time around was the White team’s turn.
But Hull understands the challenges that crew will face, he responded to Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas three years ago.
“My speculation is they’re in boats right now looking for causalities, looking for people who need to be rescued, just evaluating the overall conditions so commanders can make a decision to mitigate whatever the problems are,” Hull said.
CO-TF1 responds to emergency declarations of disaster and FEMA foots the bill.
“What it shows is we’re all Americans. We’re willing to go wherever and help other Americans. We see it in Afghanistan, right? People sending help from all over to help other Americans and I think that says a lot,” said Hull.
To learn more about the CSFD, click here.