INDIANAPOLIS — As Hurricane Laura approaches from the Gulf, Indiana Task Force One (TF1) is ready and waiting to help in Louisiana. They expect 36-straight hours of work come Thursday morning.
“Our team does well over 10,000 hours of training, we are actually closer to 20,000 hours of training annually,” details TF1 Safety Officer Jay Settergren, “We are in the middle of a pandemic, and we have never ever done one of these in the middle of a pandemic.”
TF1 has COVID-19 protocols from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and say the National Guard has been testing mask use on water rescues for months. They have been trying to figure out what material works best. Given the pandemic, TF1 fears that too many people stayed home instead of evacuating to shelters. At least when it comes to the storm, they can see what is coming.
“There is the constant threat of tornadoes coming off these things,” explains Settergren, “They are talking, where we are, and past where we are, 100 mph winds.”
The Indiana region of the American Red Cross has also deployed six volunteers to the Gulf. They’ll be providing shelter to families in Texas and Louisiana.