Local first responders were headed to the Gulf Coast Thursday to assist in the response to Hurricane Laura.
FEMA Task Force 1, composed of 45 people out of Beverly, was headed to the region to assist with water rescues. They will join members of the Coast Guard station on Cape Cod who were sent to the region Tuesday to rescue people.
A team of helicopter pilots and rescue swimmers from the Coast Guard, currently in the path of the storm, told NBC10 Boston that it’s challenging but gratifying work.
"You are on call to go help save lives and that is just the best part of our job," said Coast Guard Lt. Billy Martin, who flew the team down. “You get the refresh and renewal of hey, last night, it was a long night but at the end of the day we helped somebody or saved somebody, which is a great feeling."
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Meanwhile, FEMA Task Force 1 is bringing six boats with them on the drive down to Louisiana. The team is trained in swift-water rescues and equipped with medical and communications personnel.
"The heart rate goes up, the blood pressure goes up and the breathing rate goes up," said Bob Better, a FEMA Task Force 1 member. "But then you have to take a step back and take a deep breath and realize that you’re trained to this stuff and think about the task you’re doing.”
Members of the team said they were required to take a coronavirus test before leaving and have a supply of masks on-hand.