The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) asked the Utah crew to go as one of 28 urban search and rescue teams.
Unified Fire Authority Assistant Chief Riley Pilgrim says they will be taking shifts driving two days straight to Baton Rouge, which will be right outside the hardest hit areas.
“We’ll go out there with a full complement of tools and equipment. We have boats, water rescue capabilities, medical training, and we basically go out there to support the local responders, and then we step in if they become overwhelmed and start facilitating more advanced rescues and other operations like that,” Pilgrim said.
Along with firefighters, Utah Task Force 1 is made up of civilian volunteers who can help with medical issues and engineering.
Pilgrim is also grateful different departments are helping out as well.
“This isn’t just a Unified Fire Authority operation. We have fire departments from West Jordan, Park City, Draper City, Salt Lake City, West Valley, and South Jordan,” Pilgrim said.
However, he also wanted people back in Utah not to worry.
“We take a bunch of different members from all these departments that complement this 80-person team so we can go support our partners out in Louisiana, while maintaining the same level of service here,” Pilgrim said.
It’s not the first time firefighters from Utah have helped out during a hurricane in Louisiana. Salt Lake City Fire went 15 years ago during Hurricane Katrina.