NJ Task Force 1 deploys to help Fla. with Hurricane Ian rescue efforts
A specialized rescue and recovery group from New Jersey is in Florida assisting with efforts to help people who have been trapped by Hurricane Ian.
New Jersey Task Force 1, or NJTF-1, deployed from its facility in Wall Township to Orlando on Friday evening, according to the state Office of Emergency Management. The Type 3 Urban Search and Rescue Team has 45 people, including 35 members in skilled positions and 10 ground support personnel.
Overall, the team's focus is to rescue victims who may be trapped by flooding or structural damage in the wake of the hurricane. It is made up of 250 volunteers from throughout the state.
State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan spoke to the task force before it deployed.
"Here we are again. This great collective group of women and men putting other people before themselves," Callahan said. "You're doing New Jersey proud, as always, and I trust you'll go down there and make a difference."
NJTF-1 will be joining 135 New Jersey National Guardsmen, who were authorized by Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday to assist in relief efforts. Volunteers from the NJ Red Cross have also gone to Orlando to support relief efforts. They are expected to arrive Sunday afternoon.
The death toll from the Category 4 storm continues to rise as search and rescue efforts continue. According to the Associated Press, at least 54 people are dead as of Sunday morning including 47 in Florida. Most of the deaths are concentrated in Lee County, which is home to Fort Myers.