ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The threat of dangerous flooding from Hurricane Barry in South Louisiana is one of the primary concerns of emergency planners. Three Alexandria Fire Department employees trained in flood water rescues are on the scene in Baton Rouge to assist in life-saving operations if needed.
“We sent three men to assist with the State Fire Marshall’s Louisiana Urban Search and Rescue,” explained First Assistant Chief Jeffery Tarver. The three are Fire Equipment Operator Justin Randall, who is the team leader and a veteran of flood water rescues, Fire Equipment Operator Matt Campbell and Firefighter Brad Pilcher. All three are part of the local Region 6 Rapid Response Team.
“We didn’t send any boats, we kept those in case they are needed here,” Tarver said, adding they have three trained flood water rescue who stayed here to deal with any local issues that may arise. “We can send those later if we don’t need them and they do.”
This is the first deployment for Campbell, who just recently received his flood water rescue certification. “I’m kind of excited,” Campbell said Saturday when asked if he was concerned about going on his first hurricane rescue operation. “I don’t mind putting people into boats and taking them to safety. Helping people trapped in houses get to higher ground. I hope that’s all it is.”
Campbell said it was interesting meeting rescue workers from other states and he said he is eager to learn from them and work with larger teams. As of Saturday morning they were assembled at the State Fire Marshall’s office waiting for the storm to move through. “It’s a lot of hurry up and wait right now,” Campbell said. “The rumor is we might be going to the Morgan City area, but we just don’t know.”
While they didn’t take a boat, the team did take a support trailer. “It has supplies so we can be self-sufficient if we get sent down South,” Campbell explained. “We have food, water, a generator and air mattresses, so we’re good to go.”
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