TN Task Force One to join in Hurricane Michael relief

Task force sent to Montgomery, AL to be on standby until the storm passes through

TN Task Force One to join in Hurricane Michael relief

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - People along the Gulf Coast are preparing for Hurricane Michael.

The storm moved through Cuba on Monday, bringing heavy rain and plenty of flooding.

The impact on Florida's panhandle could be more severe. A state of emergency has been declared in counties across the Gulf Coast.

The National Guard is preparing to deploy after the hurricane makes landfall, and Tennessee Task Force One will do the same.

Tennessee Task Force One was originally scheduled to head to an Air Force base near Destin, Florida. On Tuesday afternoon, they were diverted to Montgomery, Alabama to be on standby until after the storm passes through.

The search and rescue team will be on standby at the base until it’s known what kind of damage the hurricane will bring.

“We never know what mission we’re going to get, so we have to bring the entire warehouse basically,” Memphis Fire Department Division Chief and Task Force Leader Colin Burress said.

TN Task Force One heads to FL for Hurricane Michael relief

Hurricane Michael is threatening up to 300 miles of Alabama and Florida and is expected to make landfall Wednesday.

Memphis-based TN Task Force One will travel with 80 responders, including canine handlers, doctors, engineers and firefighters. It’s a 15-vehicle convoy of several packed semi trucks, boats and two charter buses of personnel.

It all came within the course of a few hours.

“When we get that order we have anywhere from four to six hours depending on how we’ll travel to get out the door,” Burress said.

The team also spent part of last month on the east coast to help with relief from Hurricane Florence. But that’s how hurricane season goes--there’s usually a quick turnaround.

“We can swap out personnel out if need be, but most of our people--when they’re called upon or summoned--they’re ready to get out the door,” Burress said.

Last month's team consisted of about 45 people concentrating on water rescues.

Now, they don’t know when they’ll return to the Mid-South.

“It’s just something we love to do. If there’s somebody in need we want to get out and help them,” Burress said.

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