FORT MEYERS, Florida — Members of Utah’s Task Force One are helping oversee FEMA’s efforts to search for these survivors, which is no easy task.
A dozen other teams are in Fort Myers Beach, sometimes crossing some pretty rough terrain as boats are on the roads and cars and buildings are torn apart.
Search parties led by people like Carl Randolph of Pennsylvania Task Force One are trying to find someone who still needs help.
“You’re making really good progress today,” Randolph said.
They are working with FEMA as more than a thousand searchers roam the streets of Fort Myers Beach. Sometimes crawl in tight spaces.
And even several days after the storm, they are still finding people.
“So people are uh, resilient,” Randolph said. “They are proud and many of them don’t want to leave their homes without electricity or utilities. they still want to stay.
Crews help ensure resisters get the supplies they need. In some cases, those who remained did not survive.
“It’s critical that we contact them as soon as possible,” Randolph said.
The work is hard. They are suddenly far from their family, now in a community dealing with their worst times.
“I joined this team in 2005, so I’ve seen that before,” says Randolph. “Unfortunately, with hurricanes, it doesn’t really surprise me what I’m seeing now.”
But surprising or not, it takes a toll. Not just seeing a decimated community, but seeing its impact on people.
“We have peer counselors walking around and integrating with teams,” he said.
Randolph said that kind of help is essential for everyone.
“We need a mentally healthy squad,” he said. “A mentally and emotionally sound team to do this kind of work, and we rely on each other a lot.”
And people, local leaders and law enforcement rely on them to make sure people here are safe