Clermont Fire Department’s Lt. Jeremiah Plasters is on his way to the panhandle to help those affected by Hurricane Michael.
Plasters is part of Florida Task Force 4, which is the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Urban Search and Rescue team in Central Florida. The task force was activated today with plans to depart from the team’s Orange County warehouse after 5:30 p.m. Plasters is one of 40 firefighters from seven fire departments on Florida Task Force 4.
“Our hearts go out to those affected by Hurricane Michael,” Clermont City Manager Darren Gray said. “We wish Lt. Plasters a safe, productive trip as part of this important task force. Clermont is no stranger to the dangers and impacts of hurricanes, and we will band together to help in any way we can.”
The Clermont Fire Department also is on standby to send a Technical Response Team of six people to the panhandle. The regional director of FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue team contacted the department on Oct. 8 requesting that they prepare for possible deployment and resources in response to Hurricane Michael. Deployments typically last up to a week and are reimbursed by FEMA.
Last year, Clermont Fire Department’s Firefighter Micah Warren was deployed to Texas during Hurricane Harvey as a member of Task Force 4. Warren was part of the Swift Water Rescue Team, which helped save more than 900 flood victims and over a dozen pets.
Plasters was on duty for the city when he received the news of his team’s deployment today and left work to prepare for the trip. Plasters has worked for the Clermont Fire Department since 2005.
The seven fire departments on Task Force 4 are Clermont Fire Department, Seminole County Fire Department, Orange County Fire Rescue, Orlando Fire Department, Lake County Fire Rescue, Reedy Creek Fire Rescue and Mount Dora Fire Department.
Florida Task Force 4 is under federal orders and has search and rescue capabilities to quickly deploy for emergencies. Task force members have additional training, must be able to deploy on short notice and must be self-sufficient for extended periods.