Central Florida Search & Rescue Teams will Begin Coming Home TODAY


First Crews Return after Critical Mission in Hardest Hit Areas of Hurricane Michael

 ORLANDO, Fla. – Oct. 19, 2018 – Today, Central Florida fire departments will gather to welcome home responders after deployment to some of Northwest Florida’s hardest hit areas by Hurricane Michael including Mexico Beach and Port St. Joe. The first fire rescue teams to return include Florida Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Task Force 4, two Ambulance Strike Teams and a MARC (multi agency radio communications). Crews will be welcomed home by their families, dignitaries and from the respective jurisdictions agencies. The large caravan includes three tractor trailers, 14 trucks/trailers and apparatus, a MARC unit, and ten ambulances.

Florida US&R Task Force 4 is a state urban search and rescue team led by Seminole County Fire Department, Orange County Fire Rescue, and Orlando Fire Department that deployed Oct. 10. The Hurricane Michael mission included 46 team members (K9s included/MARC unit) from Seminole, Orange and Lake counties, along with the cities of Orlando, Reedy Creek, Mount Dora, Clermont, and Winter Park fire departments.

Task Force 4 specializes in structural collapse, swift water rescue, wide area search and hazardous materials. The team includes firefighters, paramedics, structural engineers, doctors, search and rescue K9s, and other highly-trained specialists.


Ambulance Strike Teams 501/502 were crucial in supporting hospital evacuations and local emergency medical services within the community of their deployment. Central Florida sent multiple ambulance and engine strike teams with several strike teams remaining in the Panhandle. Today’s teams also deployed Oct. 10 and include crews from Osceola, Kissimmee, Apopka, St. Cloud, Ocoee, Seminole, Martin, Sanford and New Smyrna fire departments.

More than 140 fire rescue responders from Central Florida were deployed in the wake of the storm providing lifesaving efforts. It is believed to be the largest fire rescue deployment since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

The City of Clermont Fire Department has one team member, Lt. Jeremiah Plasters, returning today with Task Force 4.