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West Chester first responder joins hurricane relief efforts in Carolinas
A West Chester Fire Department first responder is joining rescue crews headed to the southern Atlantic coast today to assist victims of Hurricane Florence. Others may be called to join the effort in the coming weeks.
Lt. Ryan Asbrock was deployed with Ohio Task Force 1 (OH-TF1) early Tuesday, Sept. 11. The 16-member team assembled in Dayton and departed around 8 a.m. en route to the Carolinas.
“Multi-jurisdictional emergency response teams are trained and ready to step in and support communities in crisis,” said Fire Chief Rick Prinz. “Ohio Task Force 1 will offer critical support to those in the path of the hurricane and West Chester residents can be confident that the task force will support our community should crisis strike here.”
According to posts on the OH-TF1 Facebook page, a Water Ready Package (WRP) has been deployed to a location in Kinston, North Carolina. The WRP unit helps establish or enhance Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) operations in a water environment and is capable of continuous 24-hour operations.
Weather forecasters have already declared Hurricane Florence a Category 4 storm, with the potential to strengthen. The storm, which is expected to make landfall Thursday or Friday, Sept. 13-14, prompted mandatory evacuation orders for approximately a million people living along the East Coast of the Carolinas and Virginia.
OH-TF1 is one of 28 urban search and rescue teams within FEMA’s National US&R Response System. OH-TF1 is made up of members from the private and public sectors, and includes career and part-time fire/ personnel, law enforcement officers, emergency medical and hospital personnel, structural engineers and other professionals.
Lt. Asbrock is regularly stationed at Fire Station 74 on Beckett Road in West Chester. There is no interruption to service for residents while first responders participate in the task force. FEMA reimburses the department for Lt. Asbrock’s time spent on the Task Force, and covers any overtime costs that might be incurred by WCFD in covering for the OHTF1 member during his absence.
In 2017, four members of the West Chester Fire Department were deployed with disaster management teams: Capt. Troy Bonfield and firefighter Trevor Frodge served in Houston, Texas with OH-TF1; and Asst. Chief Dave Pickering and Shift Lt. David Mainwaring served in South Florida with the Butler County Incident Management Team (IMAT).