Missouri Task Force 1 staged near Lake Pontchartrain ahead of Hurricane Sally

The Type 3 team is made up of 46 personnel with an emphasis in water rescue capabilities.
Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 6:18 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Missouri Task Force 1 is currently staged just northwest of Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana as Hurricane Sally makes landfall.

Gale Blomenkamp is a member of Missouri Task Force 1 and the Assistant Fire Chief with the Boone County Fire Protection District. While Blomenkamp was not part of the deployed team this time around, he shed some light on what their day-to-day routine could look like.

“We will remain in staging until we get a mission assignment from the incident management team down there,” began Blomenkamp. “Once that occurs, that could be water rescues, it could be searching neighborhoods, it could be a wide-area search, it could be a myriad of different assignments.”

Blomenkamp also said one of the toughest parts of the job is the dangers of being in an unfamiliar area, adding that a neighborhood or city can look vastly different when flooded. Forecasters along the Gulf Coast expect a storm surge of up to 11 feet in some areas. One of the many reasons the Type 3 team is made up of 46 personnel with an emphasis in water rescue capabilities.

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Posted by Boone County Fire Protection District on Sunday, September 13, 2020

Missouri Task Force 1 will stay deployed for 14 days. While Blomenkamp says it’s rare for the crew to be gone for the entirety of that time, he said it’s possible this time because of how slow Hurricane Sally is moving.

He thanked the employers and families who allow task members to take the trip. “For an employer to let someone go for 14 days, or maybe for a family to go without their loved one for 14 days and manage a household by themselves, or whatever that may be, it’s a big toll on everyone,” he explained. “Without the support of employers and the families this would not be possible.”

A Facebook post from the Boone County Fire Protection District Monday afternoon also revealed there are Missouri Task Force 1 personnel also deployed in Oregon as wildfires ravage the west coast. The post stated the team is, “engaged with managing US&R resources and assisting other management teams assigned.”

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Posted by Boone County Fire Protection District on Monday, September 14, 2020

Blomenkamp said he is incredibly proud of all those helping across the nation. “These are the best of the best trained people in Missouri, we’re very proud of men and women who chose to do this.”

Missouri Task Force 1 is made up of men and women from the following counties:

Boone County

Buchanan County

Callaway County

Camden County

Cape Girardeau County

Cole County

Cooper County

Franklin County

Gasconade County

Greene County

Harrison County

Jackson County

Jasper County

Jefferson County

Johnson County

Lincoln County

McDonald County

Moniteau County

Pulaski County

St. Charles County

St. Clair County, IL.

St. Louis County

Taney County

Warren County

Wyandotte County, KS.

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