25 members of Miami-Dade’s Rapid Deployment Force to assist on southwest coast

Miami-Dade’s Rapid Deployment Force to assist on southwest coast

Miami-Dade’s Rapid Deployment Force to assist on southwest coast


MIAMI – More help is on the way to the southwest coast as first responders continue to search for survivors of Hurricane Ian and evacuate those on barrier islands cut off from the mainland.

Twenty-five members of the Miami-Dade police department’s Rapid Deployment Force left Wednesday.

“They’re chomping at the bit. They’re ready to go. I mean the moment this devastating storm hit the phone calls we’re coming in, they wanted to go right away,” said police Director Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez III.

The officers had to wait until the State Emergency Operations Center was ready for them. With so much destruction, the goal is to send teams in slowly, to help out but not overwhelm the area.

“The community is proud. We’re sending our finest up there. We’re representing as one state and they’re doing God’s work,” said Ramirez.

Members of the department’s Rapid Deployment Force specialize in rapid, tactical response including crowd management, building searches, and operation of heavy machinery. 

Ramirez was on the west coast Tuesday surveying the damage. He said his team is needed now more than ever.

“The elderly folks, their homes are destroyed. A lot of them are in retired communities, they’ve lost everything,” he said.

Ramirez added that we are Floridians and for his officers, this hits close to home.

“That could’ve been us. The devastation, the power lines, the desperation,” he said.

Along with patrol cars, rescue equipment, food, and water, Ramirez said his team is bringing something else for the people of southwest Florida.

“To give them hope. That’s the big “H” word right now. Hope. That’s what those folks need because right now they’re suffering,” he said.

USAR Florida Task Force 1 and 2, comprised of first responders from Miami and Miami-Dade, have been conducting search and rescue operations and assisting southwest coast residents for nearly a week.

“We have really kind people. We have Miami-Dade fire station coming out to help since day one, helping anyone who wants to get off the island,” said “Bea.”

The U.S. Coast Guard and National Guard have been focusing their efforts in the hardest hit areas, including Lee County where Bea’s home was destroyed on Pine Island. USAR Florida Task Force 1 is working with first responders there.

“We are all working in unison to serve and protect the community. We are doing everything that we can, as quickly and safely as we can,” said Pine Island Fire Control District Chief Benjamin Mickuleit.

Crews have provided residents with basic supplies but they are in need of more including items like diapers, baby formula, and toiletries.

“We have so many kindhearted people and we are pulling together. But kindhearted people can only go so far. We need all the basics in the store ASAP so everyone can move forward. Pine Island, all the residents here are very resilient and strong,” said Bea.

Click Here for ways to help Hurricane Ian victims. 

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