Caravan of Polk Co. first responders leaves for Panhandle

- First responders from across the Bay Area are heading to North Florida, ready to pitch in any way they can to help people dealing with the destruction from Hurricane Michael.

About 30 people from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Polk County Fire Rescue are on their way to Holmes County. The caravan hit the road Thursday afternoon.

“I don’t think you can 100-percent prepare at all, we’re gonna go, we’re gonna take it step-by-step, mission by mission, and do the best we can to try to help anyone that’s there,” said Sgt. Paul Wright with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Hurricane Michael left a trail of catastrophic destruction, so the group is bringing everything they need to eat, sleep and work. That includes a mobile command center, a bunk trailer with 15 beds, a shower trailer, a kitchen trailer that can feed up to 110 people three meals a day, even electricity and their own radio system.

By being self-sufficient, the deputies, firefighter, and EMS can focus on where they’re really needed.

LINK: Bay Area first responders join recovery effort after Michael

“Whatever kind of devastation they had, maybe we can bring some sort of assistance to them, or maybe just a little relief so they can deal with their lives and maybe regain some kind of normalcy,” Wright said.

The caravan and crews lined up then were briefed on their assignment.

Once they get to Holmes County, the deputies will take over some law enforcement duties, and pitch in any way they can.

“We’re going up there to help people restore their lives the best that we can.  We’re going to rescue, we’re going to help, we’re going to console,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. “This is all about helping our fellow man in time of need, we will be there to help them because they would have been here to help us had it been the other way around.”

The group plans to stay in North Florida as long as they’re needed.

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