The team returned on Tuesday afternoon to Gahanna, and following a debriefing, headed home to their respective parts of the Buckeye State. On behalf of the entire TERT OH-1 team, and the Ohio TERT Committee, we express our THANKS to the agencies and organizations that made the deployment possible. All deployed personnel should have received information on the upcoming reimbursement webinar meeting. The in-person team AAR meeting is being planned now.
The team stopped last night in Ocala, Florida, for the night. Tonight, they are stopped in Knoxville, Tennessee, for a last dinner as TERT OH-1, and to assist local authorities in fishing a goalpost out of a river.
Tomorrow, the team will arrive back in Ohio, and head back to their respective friends, families, and centers. There will be meetings, debriefings, and after action reports, for sure. From the newest member of the Task Force all the way up to the Committee Chairs, this has been at once a learning experience for all of us, and a sight to behold. Likely, many articles will be written, and seminars held, to talk through how this EMAC activation went from a paper request from Florida to assembling a full Task Force in 4 days. But, for the entire Ohio TERT team, as we witnessed it, this was a great moment for our team, for our State, and for all the organizations that supported our work to carry out our chartered mandate.
God Bless Florida.
We done good.
Its True. It’s Damn True.
The team ended their last shift at midnight. Job done, the team is packing up this morning, and expects to leave for Georgia this afternoon. The team is tired, but looking forward to a hot shower, and being able to sleep in a bed, inside a structure. The quote that has been given many times during the deployment is, “…experience of a lifetime…” This team of telecommunicators, themselves the best of their home agencies, were tested in many ways. They worked without days off, in a center foreign to them, on a phone and CAD system foreign to them, and they not only filled the need, they THRIVED. This grit and determination is part of what makes the TERT program such a critical tool for public safety communications centers in the aftermath of disasters like Ian.
The team was today advised by Florida TERT Committee Chairman Natalia Duran that the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Communications Division has advised that their center and personnel have recovered to a point where TERT OH-1 is no longer needed and will therefore be demobilized 3 days early. The team’s shifts will end at midnight on Saturday, October 15. The team will spend Sunday reloading the equipment trailers and drive for the night to Georgia. They will drive to Central Tennessee on Monday, and plan to arrive back in Gahanna on Tuesday. Once a firm time is known, it will be posted here and on the team’s Facebook page. Family, friends, and media are warmly invited to welcome home the team.
TERT OH-1 personnel continued working today, and with the major step of public utility crews making entry to the barrier islands of Lee County, call volume continues to escalate. The access of personnel to facilitate restoration of electricity to the hardest hit areas is a key hurdle on the road to recovery.
Elsewhere, our team had the chance to receive a visit from Florida APCO Chapter President Kathy Liriano and Florida TERT Committee Chair Natalia Duran. President Liriano and
Chiaman Duran were visiting with TERT personnel from elsewhere in Florida, and from Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio, and Texas, who answered the EMAC request for assistance.
The team remains in good health and spirit but is tired.
We’ve had the first casualty of the deployment. One of the smaller tents did not survive yesterday’s storm. It was being used as a rest & recuperation area, not a sleeping quarter, so there is little change for the team. But, this is still a reminder that Mother Nature is still very much in charge. The team remains tired, but in good spirits.
Not even TERT OH-1 is immune to Mother Nature. A locally heavy thunderstorm created a bit of pond in the campsite. No injuries, all equipment is okay, but a lesson to always be prepared for everything!
Run volume is picking up. Lee County and the municipal governmental jurisdictions within it are starting to let evacuees back in with more regularity, though the 7PM curfew remains in areas without water or electricity.
Everyone remains in good spirits, if a bit tired, and now, soggy, too.
Our staff continued today with Day 3 of operations at Lee County Sheriff’s Office 911 Center. The staff continues in 3 platoons; it is expected that they will start rotating days off in the next day or two. Lee County Domestic Animal Services has been kind in lending the team 3-100-foot water hoses to facilitate refilling the water tanks aboard HAVOC-1. Lee County was also gracious in arranging for a sanitary vehicle to come out to perform
service on HAVOC-1 as well. Call volume remains steady, and it is important to remember that normal daily operations are continuing as well. The catastrophic damage and civil displacement not withstanding, LCSO remains a department tasked with public safety, hurricane or not. In that spirit, TERT OH-1 continues to provide support to LCSO’s 911 Center both storm-related, and in the course of daily business. The staff remain in good spirts.
Fletcher the K-9 from Orange County Fire-Rescue stopped by today to say hello to TERT OH-1 and express pawsitively wonderful thanks for all the team’s work. The team are still in good spirits and healthy; shifts are now divided into 3 platoons: 0500-1700, 1200-2400, and 1600-0400. Run volume remains at approximately 1,200 calls every 24 hours. This is likely to continue as more evacuees return to their homes and businesses, especially in the very hard-hit Gulf Coast section of the county. South Fork Fire-Rescue has been kind enough to allow use of their shower facilities to the team, which everyone is thankful for, especially since the air
conditioning in the tent has frozen up. LCSO command staff have been complementary of the team’s work, and we are thankful for their hospitality. Pictures and releases are continuing to be posted daily on www.ohiotert.org, and on our Facebook page, Ohio TERT.
The first shifts for the team are underway. For now, the dispatchers have divided into three platoons, working 0500-1700, 1200-2400, and 1700-0500. Upon receiving a briefing from the LCSO and an abbreviated training, the first day-shift crew started fielding calls on the LCSO non-emergency telephony system. The call volume remains high; many parts of Lee County still have limited accessibility, and damage estimates are still being undertaken. Ohio APCO President Johnna Sells took part in a conference call with Ohio EMA this afternoon, where they reaffirmed support for TERT OH-1, and stood ready to provide any support. The radio infrastructure has been found to be within acceptable tolerances, and repairs are underway. As such, the Ohio MARCS personnel have departed, and are returning to Columbus.
One team member is returning home to tend to a private matter. We are in the process of filling that position to maintain adequate manpower. Personnel from TERT TX-1 are also as LCSO, but are due to rotate out at the end of this week.
All other personnel are healthy, and in good spirits.