NJ’s Task Force 1 set to help with Hurricane Florence recovery
WALL — As Hurricane Florence aims toward the Carolinas, 80 members of New Jersey's Task Force 1 search and rescue operation are headed south to be in place for the aftermath.
The team is made up of police, fire, and emergency medical personnel from every county in the state and is skilled in a variety of search and rescue operations including swift-water rescue, which will allow them to conduct rescue operations in flooded areas.
A convoy left the township early Tuesday morning to get in place to ride out Florence and be in position if they are needed in their immediate area. It's the first deployment of the team during this year's hurricane season. In 2017 the team helped with rescues in Florida and Texas.
"Although the impact of Hurricane Florence remains uncertain, what is certain is that the highly trained men and women of New Jersey Task Force 1 will be in place ready to assist those in need," State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan said in a statement.
Task Force Team Leader Mark Gose, of Cape May, said the team is made up of doctors, paramedics, nurses, engineers, K9 search teams, hazardous material specialists, search and rescuers specialist who use acoustics and fiber optics and a logistical team.
"We can pretty much do anything, whether its a structural collapse with heavy concrete buildings or a water rescue. We can roll with the punches and deal with different types of emergencies as they arise," Gose said.
"They are very robust, they are very capable. They are very great people to work with."
Gose was one of 25 members who spent ten days at Ground Zero on Sept. 11, 2001.
"I think anyone who responded on that day will always talk about how clear and blue the sky was. Coming up the Turnpike to see fighter jets over the city was a bit of a shock."
The Task Force is divided into three groups, with one group always remaining behind in New Jersey to handle any other emergencies that may arise.