Fire Marshal Jennifer Pierce is scheduled to deploy to the State of Florida’s Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee. She will relieve agency members currently working in the center as part of the Type III All-Hazards Incident Management Team.
Clermont Fire Department’s Lt. Jeremiah Plasters was sent to the Panhandle on October 10 as one of 40 firefighters on Florida Task Force 4, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Urban Search and Rescue team in Central Florida.
“We wish Fire Marshal Pierce and Lt. Plasters well on their missions,” Clermont City Manager Darren Gray said. “The city is proud of them for their service in the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Michael.”
Task Force 4 (TF-4) already assisted multiple people in need, including some injured, according to the Orange County Fire Department. TF-4’s mission is to search for trapped victims in damaged buildings. They arrived in Franklin County and made their way to Gulf County, reporting extreme damage along the way, such as blocked roads and down trees and power lines. TF-4’s helicopter tour around Mexico Beach revealed widespread damage and no power or water in the area.
The Clermont Fire Department 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 October 8, requesting that they prepare for possible deployment of staff and resources in response to Hurricane Michael.
Pierce has been with the city since 2014. She joined the State Regional 5 Type III All-Hazards Incident Management Team in 2015, after years of training and certification. Her involvement with natural disasters includes two deployments after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and one to Alabama after the tornadoes of 2011.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is in the process of preparing to send deputies to Gulf County, Florida to provide law enforcement aid amidst the destruction left behind by Hurricane Michael. The Sheriff’s Office will be sending 18 employees, which includes sworn deputies and support personnel, to provide patrols and general security in the area.
Due to the conditions of the response area, the team will be required to be self-sustainable throughout the seven-day mission, meaning they will be bringing their own food, water, fuel, and housing. They will be bringing pallets of water, MRE meals (military style, meals-ready-to-eat, and a portable tent to sleep in.
The Florida Disaster Fund is accepting donations via their website, text or mailing a check: https://www.volunteerflorida.org/emergency-management/#fdf
The community is proud of our first responders. They are, indeed, our protectors and champions.