Hurricane Ian: LA, OC first responders traveling to Florida to help in aftermath
LOS ANGELES - Hurricane Ian left a path of destruction after it made landfall on Florida's Gulf Coast Wednesday. Search and rescue efforts are underway as people try to recover and rebuild.
Several first responders from Los Angeles and Orange County are heading to Florida to help assist.
Tony Sapien, a volunteer with the Red Cross says he's going to Florida to help "give back to the community." Sapien has been volunteering for the LA Red Cross since 2018 and was deployed to help during Hurricane Michael.
This time, he says he won't help with shelters, but plans to help people who may be dealing with anxiety and loss. The loss of family, pets, a home.
"Initially you have to deal with loss and then how is it that you're going to integrate that into your day-to-day activities," he told FOX 11.
RELATED: Hurricane Ian downgrades to Category 1, dangerous winds, storm surge continue to batter Florida
Meanwhile, LA County has sent two people from their incident management team to help with logistics. In Orange County, Battalion Chief Kevin Fetterman is waiting for a call for more help.
"Our task force is ready 24/7/365 to be able to deploy to anything in the neighborhood of 80 people all the way down to 16 people," Fetterman said.
One of two people already on the ground in Florida is retired OCFA Division Chief Mike Boyle.
"We rode the storm out. A lot of us stayed in the convention center," Boyle said from Orlando's Orange County Convention Center. "The storm was very powerful. It came onshore; ran along sort of parallel to the coast of Florida with the strong side of the storm impacting the state."
Governor Newsom has ordered the state's Office of Emergency Operations workers to Florida…so for the next few days, several first responders are waiting to find out if they need to respond.
If you'd like to volunteer with the Red Cross you can visit redcross.org/la.