Five members from Hampton Roads Incident Management Team deploy to Florida

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CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — The people tasked to head into harm’s way here at home are heading south to help.  Members of the Hampton Roads Incident Management Team are currently on their way to Florida.

There are three Incident Management Teams in the state.  Together, they are sending 14 people to help in Florida.  On Tuesday morning, they left for Tallahassee.

“We are loading our trucks and we’re getting ready to head to Florida in advance of Hurricane Michael,” said Virginia Beach Fire Department District Chief Steve Lesinksi.  

Hurricane Michael upgraded to Category 3 storm ahead of Florida landfall

Five men will join nine other people from across the state as part of Virginia’s response.  Lesinski says the team is made up of public safety personnel like EMS, firefighters, police officers, public utility employees and public works employees. 

“The impact could be helping whoever is managing the incident, whether it’s the fire department or emergency management,” said Norfolk Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief Harry Worley of how the team can help in disaster situations. 

Worley was part of the team that just returned from helping in North Carolina after Hurricane Florence. 

“We blended in with their emergency operations center to help them manage a widespread incident from fallen trees, to power supplies, to shelters, to flooding, all of those things that come into there when you have a storm like this,” Worley said.

Worley also says the teamwork creates good neighbors.  Plus, they learn something new during each deployment.

“We’re better prepared and we know what may be coming.”

Virginia Task Force 2 is also going to Florida, but the teams have different missions.

“They are going in and searching and looking for people, and the incident management teams help assist, we manage the incidents,” Lesinski said.

The team says this is what they trained for and they’re ready to help.

Lesinski said, “It could do some serious destruction, the tidal surge and things of that nature.”

They expect to be gone for two weeks.

The other members of the team are Virginia Beach Fire Department Deputy Chief James Ramsey, Chesapeake Master Firefighter Paramedic Barry Bailey, Chesapeake Public Utilities Safety Officer Jonathan Wright, and retired Virginia Beach Fire Captain Rich Shelley. 

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