NewsLocal News


Colorado first responders, volunteers move out to meet Hurricane Florence head-on

Posted at 4:44 PM, Sep 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-12 12:24:33-04

DENVER — On Tuesday, first responders from different agencies and volunteers from all over Colorado headed to North Carolina to help with rescue and recovery efforts needed once Hurricane Florence makes landfall.

Forty-five members of the Colorado Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue Team prepared to meet Hurricane Florence head-on. The team members are highly trained to handle dangerous situations like rescuing people in floods and high winds.

Steve Aseltine is a firefighter with West Metro Fire, the sponsoring agency for the Colorado-based team under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

"Winds are about a 103 miles an hour. We are preparing for storm surge, people that didn't evacuate, no infrastructure and access issues," said Aseltine.

MORE | Help people affected by Hurricane Florence 

Everyone works together including paramedics, firefighters, structural engineers, physicians and even hazmat specialists like Sharyl West.

"The infrastructure within the place we are deploying to, whatever city that may be, is going to add chemical spills just by the nature of the hurricane,” said  West.

While people stock up on food and supplies to hunker down or fill up their tanks to evacuate, Colorado volunteers with the Red Cross are also headed to the storm.

Andy Aerenson is one of several people headed to North Carolina to help victims with food and shelter for the next two weeks.

"What I expect to see is a lot of houses underwater, a lot of people distraught and a lot of people who are ready to fight back," said Aerenson.

Like many members of the Colorado Task Force 1, he's been deployed before to natural disasters and is ready to jump in.

"You'll connect with somebody, all of a sudden whether it's the hug or they need the shovel that we happen to have in the truck. And it’s like we delivered the greatest gift they could ever get because that's what they needed," said Aerenson.