DeRidder, La. (KPLC) - Before Hurricane Delta made landfall the Louisiana Urban Search and Rescue Task Force along with search and rescue teams from out-of-state came together to help the people of Southwest Louisiana.
“We brought in a total of 600 urban search and rescue technicians and support in response to Hurricane Delta," Louisiana State Fire Marshal Butch Browning said.
Once the storm passed the USAR teams deployed to help residents in flooded areas.
“We really supported some local folks; we were sending boat crews as they would send folks out to kind of take care of their local areas," Task Force Leader for Oklahoma Task Force One Chuck French said. "We’d send our boat crews over there to kind of supplement or support them.”
As the water began to recede the teams transitioned to secondary searches across parishes in Southwest Louisiana. The teams walk door-to-door checking on community members.
“To make sure that obviously there’s no emergencies at people’s homes but it’s a little deeper than that," Browning said. "It’s doing a well-fare check to make sure that they have what they need to survive.”
The teams document damage, look for dangerous generator setups, and provide important information to residents.
“A lot of times it’s not very glorious, it’s not the big rescue and boat stuff but it’s what really matters the most," French said. "[It’s] getting people the information and taking care of the folks in the state so they can get some money back for their houses and for the state to recover and get back on their feet.”
French said he wants to help Louisianians because the same was once done for his state.
“We’ve had two very large record size tornadoes in our state that were F5 plus and those same type of people came to our state," he said. "So when we formed this team 15 years ago that was our commitment too.”