South Florida law enforcement, fire rescue deploy crews to southwest Florida

The Florida Highway Patrol sent about 70 troopers to the west coast of Florida Thursday, where Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday.

DAVIE, Fla. – Law enforcement and fire rescue crews in South Florida are doing what they can to help those most affected by Hurricane Ian.

A quick response team from the Florida Highway Patrol and Miami-Dade’s Urban Search and Rescue Team headed to the west coast of Florida Thursday morning to assist in any way they can.

About 70 FHP troopers left from Davie.

Their initial plan is to be there for two weeks. FHP officials said they started planning their response once the governor issued a state of emergency last week.

They plan to help out in any way they can, whether that be helping with search and rescue, opening roads, cutting trees or security.

They’ll be working 12-hour shifts and will sleep wherever they can and eat whatever they can.

The team is trained in urban rescue and some people have reported that there are residents who are stuck in their attics in Sanibel Island or at the highest points of their home in Fort Myers Beach.

“It’s a rapid deployment team. They can be there on site as the storm is exiting the area to be the breath of fresh air for that community that is suffering right now,” Maj. Roger Reyes said. “We will be there to support and do whatever roles we need to assist the community and the citizens of Florida.”

Miami-Dade’s elite Urban Search & Rescue team responded to Florida’s Gulf Coast Thursday morning, where many people remain trapped in their homes after Hurricane Ian roared through the area.

Miami-Dade’s Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 1 team also headed to the west coast of Florida Thursday morning from the county’s Emergency Operations Center in Doral.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava was on site for the team’s send off, expressing her pride in the men and women who are a part of the elite team.

“There’s a lot of medical patients that are going to require a lot of rescuing. From what I understand, our mission orders from the get go is going to include flying personnel to the barrier islands to evacuate quite a few individuals that chose to stay,” Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Raied Jadallah said. “Just over a year ago, thousands of people from around the world came to assist us in Surfside and we’re going to pay it forward a million times over.”

Miami-Dade’s team will be deployed for an undetermined amount of time, but they are ready for the long haul.

Important supplies are also now on their way to the storm-ravaged area thanks to the nonprofit Global Empowerment Mission.

Dozens of trucks filled with supplies -- mostly bottled water -- left the GEM warehouse in Doral Thursday morning.

Levine Cava was also on hand there to check out the operation.

The organization’s leader, Michael Capponi, says they’ve been ready to help for several days, waiting for the right moment to hit the road.

The Global Empowerment Mission helps people in disaster zones internationally, such as in Ukraine and Haiti, as well as domestically.

The Florida Disaster Fund to support Florida’s communities impacted by Hurricane Ian has been activated.

To contribute, please visit www.FloridaDisasterFund.org or text DISASTER to 20222.

CLICK HERE to download Local 10′s Hurricane Survival Guide.

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About the Authors:

Annaliese Garcia joined Local 10 News in January 2020. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami, where she studied broadcast journalism. She began her career at Univision. Before arriving at Local 10, she was with NBC2 (WBBH-TV) covering Southwest Florida. She's glad to be back in Miami!

Liane Morejon is an Emmy-winning reporter who joined the Local 10 News family in January 2010. Born and raised in Coral Gables, Liane has a unique perspective on covering news in her own backyard.