TN Task Force 2 deploys to Florida panhandle following Sally

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(WKRN) — Nearly 40 specialized first responders on the Tennessee Task Force 2 were deployed to help with Tropical Storm Sally relief efforts.

“When I got the phone call that we were heading out, I was on shift,” said Brentwood Fire Lieutenant John Russ, “So luckily I was able to just run home, essentially just grab my pre-made bag, throw it in my truck, and off I went.”

Off to Hammond, Louisiana where the team received their assignment, announced today.

“We’ve been assigned to the state of Florida. We’re going to be heading towards Pensacola. We’re getting reports that it’s either the second or third highest storm surge along the Pandhandle,” said Lt. Russ.

Initial images show Sally has already caused major damage. The team deployed with two semi-trucks filled with equipment to help secure structures. Eight boats will help allow them to conduct water rescues as well as canine resources to search for missing people.

“Floodwater, and swift water, contingency is really what they’re needing from us to head that way,” said Lt. Russ.

Now en route to the Panhandle, the Task Force is also prepared for the pandemic still underway.

“We all received testing though the State before we left,” explained Lt. Russ, “We’re regularly decontaminating our sleeping areas. If we’re approaching anybody, we’ll have our masks on.”

Minor adjustments for Lt. Russ and the team, who said their main focus is on the people who need them most.

“We’re here for you all. You have help coming,” said Lt. Russ.

The Task Force expects to be deployed for 14 days, but that can change depending on the needs in the area.

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