High Springs deployed four firefighters on Friday to Dixie County as part of Engine Strike Team 1301, including staff from Clay County, Putnam County and Palatka.
The strike team will run fire and emergency medical calls for service for 10 days to assist local fire departments in the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia. Captain Kevin Pearson will lead the High Springs Engine 29 crew that also includes Lieutenant Gene Findley, Firefighter/Paramedic Mike Rivers and Firefighter/EMT Clinton Drake.
“They will act as the local fire resource for the length of their deployment,” said Kevin Mangan, spokesperson for the High Springs Fire Department. “They may stay in one station, and they may be bounced around depending on need. The local crews have been working since before the storm, so they’re going to relieve those crews that have been working for days.”
This deployment is the fourth of High Springs personnel over the past year. A single resource public information officer traveled to Eastern Kentucky in August 2022 after severe tornadoes and flooding, a strike team traveled to North Fort Myers in September 2022 after Hurricane Ian, and a single resource engine strike team leader went to Fort Myers Beach in October 2022.
“This resource request came from the state and is very similar to the deployment last year when our crew went in after Ian,” Mangan said.
Mangan said High Springs will not have to shoulder the financial burden of the deployment.
“During a state of emergency, all requests for finance are passed up from the local municipality to the state of Florida, which is ultimately reimbursed from FEMA,” Mangan said.
Alachua County sent a Mutual Aid Radio Communications (MARC) team on Wednesday to aid Idalia relief efforts.
—With reporting from J.C. Derrick