County Forces Running Rescue Missions in Florida

Over the weekend, several county services deployed to Florida to help in the fall out from Hurricane Irma.

The Franklin and Brentwood fire departments, along with Nashville-area teams, sent people to Florida.

Five members of the Franklin Fire Department deployed Friday as part of Tennessee Task Force 2, to assist with emergency response to Hurricane Irma. They staged in Tallahassee on Saturday and on Sunday afternoon left for Jacksonville to await Irma. There they teamed up with Florida Task Force 5 and deployed to the Tampa area.

Franklin Fire Department video interview of Deputy Chief Glenn Johnson:

Johnson, who returned home Thursday after deployment to southeast Texas for the Hurricane Harvey response, is being deployed with the team to serve as a task force leader.

The local task force’s primary Hurricane Irma responsibilities will be urban search and rescue.

The 40-member task force includes representatives from three Middle Tennessee fire departments (Franklin, Brentwood and Nashville) who are water rescue and technical rescue specialists, structural engineers, physicians and other medical care providers, crane operators, canine members and more.

The team will serve up to a 14-day deployment. They are prepared to spend four days in primitive conditions.

“Our personnel deployed as part of TN USAR Task Force 2 which is a 40 person team comprised mostly of Nashville Fire employees,” Todd Horton, Deputy Fire Cheif for Franklin, said.

Medical Center Responders

Left to right: Clyde Prater, James Bourland, Robert Skinner

Also, three members of Williamson Medical Center’s EMS Department left on Friday to aid first responders there as Hurricane Irma approaches the state.

Clyde Prater, EMS Supervisor/CCPM, James Bourland, EMS Supervisor/CCPM; and Robert Skinner, Paramedic; are all part of Williamson Medical Center’s EMS Strike Team, which is a group of specialized responders ready to act in times of emergency or disaster.

They were sent to Tampa on Saturday, and ran missions on Sunday in Dover, Florida, to help evacuate 10 special needs patients from a facility.

Prater, Bourland, and Skinner are expected to spend 14 days in Florida. They staged with other responder agencies and then dispatched to other areas or emergencies as need arises.

“We’re glad they can go down and serve the citizens of Florida,” said Mark King, Assistant Director of the EMS Department. “This gives Williamson Medical Center the opportunity to be represented in the Hurricane Irma response.”

The local agencies that headed down this weekend did so at the command of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), with direct coordination by the Tennessee Department of Health-Division of EMS. The agency divides Tennessee’s counties into regional districts. Williamson County falls within Region 5, and Prater will serve as the Team Lead for Region 5 teams on this mission.