Indiana Task Force 1 returns home from Hurricane Sally, readies for more storms

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A hardy bunch of Hoosiers was back home Saturday evening after heeding the call to help others in need.

Indiana Task Force 1 deployed Sunday night in support of the threat posed by Hurricane Sally. While this turned out to be a false alarm, the next group is ready.

The year 2020 may prove to be an unprecedented storm season. For the second time ever, the Greek alphabet is needed to name storms.

“It’s just nice to be back in Indiana with our families,” said Dave Cook, task force leader.

This time, 45 men and women made the sacrifice to leave their families behind and head south.

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There were eight trucks and one bus which were staged, waiting for the call that never came because local resources were able to handle Sally’s response.

“It’s never a wasted trip,” Cook said. “It’s good training for everyone who went out. We exercised our muscles, exercised our equipment down there.”

As Sally took a sharp eastward turn, the team which was staged in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, about 45 minutes east of Baton Route, hardly saw any rain.

Task Force 1 is one of 28 specially trained in urban search and rescue across the country.

It’s an all-new group from the team that went down a few weeks earlier for Hurricane Laura.

“Anytime the phone call rings, we have guys fighting, not physically obviously, but fighting to get on the team to get out the door because it is an honor to go down and do whatever FEMA and/or the state and local resources need,” Cook said.

Now, there are tropical storms Alpha and Beta, named within hours of each other Friday.

So while this group of Task Force 1 is back, Cook said there’s already a new roster of new team members ready to go, ready to sacrifice their families to help others.

“We’ll always answer that need whenever it comes in,” Cook said.

Task Force 1 is made up of more than 200 first responders, mostly firefighters, mostly from central Indiana. They are equipped and ready to deploy within 6 hours.