A small task force of Utah firefighters arrived in Virginia on Wednesday evening, where they are waiting until Hurricane Florence strikes before they’ll deploy to save people from flooded homes.
The group is known as a “mission ready package," or MRP, and specializes in water rescues, Unified Fire Authority spokesman Ryan Love said. Whereas a normal Federal Emergency Management Agency task force is comprised of 40 to 60 people, the MRP is purposely kept small so they can move quickly to the hardest hit areas.
The self-sufficient 16-person group includes 11 firefighters from UFA, three from Salt Lake City fire and one from Park City. They arrived in Virginia about 9:30 p.m. and have spent most of Thursday recuperating and readying themselves for Friday, when the hurricane is expected to make landfall.
Love said the group is “anxious and ready to work.”
The task force was last deployed to help with rescue efforts during Hurricane Harvey.
Red Cross volunteers and staffers from Utah have also traveled east to help with the hurricane’s aftermath, spokesman Richard Woodruff said.
Woodruff said at least six people — four volunteers and two staffers — had been sent to Virginia and North Carolina. Woodruff said he expects that number to grow. About 50 Utah Red Cross members helped out with Hurricane Harvey, he said.
The Red Cross members will provide shelter and food to those displaced by Hurricane Florence.