Ohio Task Force aids in Louisiana amid Hurricane Laura damage

Posted at 11:01 PM, Aug 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-29 23:23:45-04

Ohio Task Force One, comprised of fire departments, local businesses, and folks from across the state, is helping aid emergency response efforts after Hurricane Laura swept through Louisiana.

The 84-person team is often deployed across the country to help during emergencies like hurricanes, but rescue team manager Mike Lotz said the damage wrought by Laura is some of the more significant damage he's ever seen.

"Our primary job is always going to be rescuing people," said Lotz. "That's our number one priority."

So far, the group has not been needed to rescue anyone in immediate danger, but are ready with teams trained for searching, rescuing, responding to medical needs and dealing with hazardous materials.

On Saturday, the group stationed near Lake Charles in Louisiana, which Lotz said is central to much of the damage. Their focus for now entails wide area searches, surveying damage and checking homes to be sure everyone got out safely.

"We have yet to find a structure that is pristine," said Lotz. "Pretty much every structure in the Parish that we’ve touched has had damage in some manner, shape or form. Many of them are completely destroyed."

Also on the front lines of the damage are local members of Matthew 25 Ministries. Their group's disaster response team is focusing on providing people in need with first aid supplies, cleaning products and other emergency items.

The task force expects to finish up work in the Lake Charles area over the next few days, but will stay in the region to continue helping as long as their assistance is needed.