New York sends help with Irma approaching
GUILDERLAND, N.Y. -- One by one, trucks, vans, and other emergency vehicles left the Northeastern Industrial Park Thursday, headed for Florida. In the convoy are 35 members of the New York Task Force 2, getting ready for the arrival of Hurricane Irma.
"We train, but you don't know what you're doing to get until you get there," said James Hughes, a member of New York Task Force 2.
It's an urban search and rescue team that will support Florida Emergency Services as they prepare and respond to the potential impacts.
"They're going to be in conditions where there's no power, where there is water on the roadways, where there [are] compromised bridges and roadways," said State Office of Emergency Management Director Kevin Wisely.
To ensure they're ready, the unit deployed with six boats for water rescue operations, two tractor trailers with equipment needed for search and rescue missions, and two K-9 disaster search teams.
"It's going to be sad to see all of what has been built there destroyed if it is," said Brook Rowley, a member of New York State Fire.
Also deploying Thursday: 124 airmen from the 106th Rescue Wing. They’re heading to the U.S. Virgin Islands, helping those already affected by Irma.
Task Force 2 consists of first responders from the Capital Region and Hudson Valley. They could be in Florida for up to two weeks.
"We're going to be pretty much roughing it, and that's OK with us," Rowley said.
The team will drive throughout the night and are expected to arrive just south of Jacksonville on Friday afternoon. That's where they'll set up and wait for Hurricane Irma to make landfall in Florida.
"I think they'll be a very professional and well-trained team to be able to help out folks down there," Wisely said.