Local first responders help with Harvey rescues

A team of urban search and rescue responders from the metro left to help with Hurricane Harvey flooding on Monday. (OKC Fire Dept.)

Firefighters from across the metro packed up for Houston on Monday. Members of the Task Force One Urban Search and Rescue team left to help rescue anyone still stuck in the flood waters.

"They're going to be performing rescues and getting people out of swift water situations and mainly flood water situations," Oklahoma City Fire Dept. battalion chief Larry Hansen said. "So we expect them to go neighborhood to neighborhood getting people out of houses and out of their businesses."

The task force includes 16 people from fire departments all around the metro, including Oklahoma City, Norman, Edmond and Mustang. They are trained specifically to help people stuck in the flood waters of Hurricane Harvey.

"They're anxious," Hansen said. "There's a lot of different safety concerns with downed power lines and as you've seen on TV, there's fire ants and snakes, anything you can imagine. Hydrocarbons in the water."

There's also Oklahoma City police officers on the team. The city's emergency manager, Frank Barnes, said they provide more support to make sure the team can do its work.

"Their primary reason for being on the team is to provide what we call force protection," Barnes said. "They're there to protect the firefighters."

Barnes said if protection isn't needed, the police officers can assist with rescues.

He said in these kinds of disasters, it's crucial to help in some way.

"We're simply doing our job," Barnes said. "We're just doing what's being asked of us to coordinate and provide the resources that have been requested."

The team has been told to plan to be there for seven days, but it could be extended.

There are also four other teams form Oklahoma going to help.

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