The Federal Emergency Management Agency has 28 Urban Search and Rescue teams responding to either Hawaii or the East Coast. A Columbus Fire Deputy Chief is preparing a Type III swift-water rescue group to deploy for Ohio Task Force One to help with Hurricane Florence. It includes 16 first responders and four boats.
“It’s going to be a tremendous storm. The amount of water that is expected to impact that area,not just from a storm surge but from rain and flooding that is going to occur in an area that doesn’t drain well anyway is going to be enormous,” Real said.
Deputy Chief Jack Reall, 51, recalls 17 years ago when he arrived in New York City the day after 9-11. Reall is an expert on structural collapse incidents.
“When the second plane hit, we kind of knew what was going on. When the towers collapsed, it was really surreal,” said Reall.
Reall spent eleven days at Ground Zero.
“The paper just fell from the skies for days and days. I don’t think it ever really stopped. The dust, it was like being in a snowstorm constantly,” said Reall. “This is a day of reflection for me. But it’s also a day that defined who I am. So it’s kind of appropriate that I am planning for a deployment to another disaster on the same day that I went to the first one of my career. So I guess that is my mission."
Reall has responded to at least 25 hurricane. “It’s a good reminder for us, that we got into this career, this calling for a reason. That is to help people. Even when it means putting ourselves at risk,” he said.
As for the first responders who died on 9-11, Reall said he can relate to what they do.
“They knew what they were getting into. They were looking up at a building that was on fire there’s no way that they were going to put it out and they knew a lot of them were going to die. They went in and made sure a lot of people lived. We got into this for one reason. To save people and help people,” Reall said.