Ohio Task Force 1 helps rescue people, animals in Florence flooding

Ohio Task Force 1 members have helped people and pets caught in flooding caused by Hurricane Florence in North Carolina.

Task force members have coordinated with local fire departments and the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Department for water rescues and evacuation of residents, according to Neil Patnaude, an information specialist from the Dayton Fire Department who also is a member of Ohio Task Force 1.

“Our main focus has been to support the local community,” Patnaude said. “We have been working hand and hand with some of the local fire departments.”

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The task force has stayed at a volunteer department building for when the team is dispatched on a call for an evacuation with a rapid water rescue. The local department is not fully equipped for high-water rescues and does not have a boat specifically assigned to them, which why the task force is there to help.

The task force, based in Kettering, has been on more than 10 missions, assisting on more than 50 calls and one rescue that required a team member to swim in a high-water situation. More than 30 pets have been evacuated by Ohio Task Force 1, Patnaude said.

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The members are part of a federal response but are used to meet the needs of state and local departments, he said.

Patnaude, who is with the task force’s Team Bravo, is unsure when the unit will return home. Some flooded areas should begin to crest Tuesday or soon after, he said.

This is Patnaude’s second deployment with Ohio Task Force 1. He was deployed during Hurricane Matthew.

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