Tennessee Task Force One prepares to visit hurricane zone - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Ben Watson

Tennessee Task Force One prepares to visit hurricane zone

As Tropical Storm Dolly strengthened into a hurricane Tuesday, members of Tennessee Task Force One geared up to travel to the Texas-Mexico border to aid storm-threatened areas.

Just before the sun rose Tuesday, 80 members of the task force, along with search dogs, loaded up for search and rescue missions along the Gulf Coast.

"We can find people in void spaces," said John Selberg.  "We have the heavy hydraulic equipment that can go in and cut open concrete."

It's equipment task force members might need if Hurricane Dolly comes ashore.

"During Katrina we had teams standing by, and as soon as the weather got clear, the teams were moving on into those disaster areas, and working and trying to assist those people that were there at the time," said the Task Force's James Covington.

From Hurricane Katrina, to the tornado that hit Jackson last February, Tennessee Task Force One is often on the front line when a disaster strikes.  This trip will involve doctors, firefighters and building engineers.

"We're going in and helping," Covington said. "We're the ones that are going back in the back alleys and pulling people out of the flooded homes and stuff. That's what we do."

The risks are great, but team members said the satisfaction for helping people in need was even greater.

"I guess that's why we're firefighters. Someone needs help, so we want to help."

The Task Force planned to drive to San Antonio to wait until the storm hits, and to then begin search and rescue operations.


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