Tallahassee Fire Department Search and Rescue Team Return Home After Surfside Rescue Efforts


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – Family and friends greeted the Tallahassee Fire Department’s search and rescue team as heroes after a week-long deployment to Surfside.

Task Force 7 joined with seven other search and rescue teams across the state to assist with recovery efforts after a condo collapsed.

The family of some of the task force members say the crew spent most of the week not knowing when they would be back or how long they would be in Surfside, so Monday afternoon was a warm welcome after a difficult week for many.

TFD says the scene where the condo collapsed in South Florida is reminiscent of Ground Zero. This is where 27 Tallahassee firefighters worked last week.

“They were on the job from noon to midnight, midnight. So they come in and rinse and repeat and they do it for seven days, ”said Sarah Cooksey with TFD.

The search and rescue team was assisting recovery efforts in the field. A spokesperson for the department said it was one of the most grueling deployments many of these members have been on.

On Monday, the crew was greeted with open arms.

“We do a lot of mental health literacy, so we do a lot of education, a lot of training, a lot of workshops with our first responders and also with their family members, that’s a very important part,” said Kellie O’Dare. , assistant professor and director of 2nd Alarm.

O’Dare traveled with the team to provide mental health support and remedies for the peer support team.

“Another of our goals is to support members after traumatic incidents or anything abnormal like this deployment to ensure they have the resources they need to stay in good mental and physical health,” said Lance Butler, Peer Support Team Leader. .

The group hopes to change the culture behind seeking help, especially after working on stages like Surfside.

WCTV was unable to speak with members of Task Force 7 on Monday; TFD cited mental health reasons, saying group members are required to take at least a 48-hour break.

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