Missouri Task Force 1 crews, a Columbia-based division of FEMA, have begun a search and rescue mission in Loveland, Colo., to assist with rescue efforts as a result of recent flooding. NPR reports 15 counties across Colorado's Front Range have been hit by historic flooding that has killed at least seven people, and forced nearly 12,000 residents to evacuate homes.
Missouri Task Force 1 arrived Sunday evening at Larimer County Fairgrounds in Loveland. The fairgrounds are the base of search and rescue operations there.
Missouri Task Force 1 consists of 80 specially-trained personnel from Missouri, four disaster search canines and their handlers. Boone County Fire Department Battalion Chief Gale Blomenkamp says Task Force 1 members arrived with more than 100 thousand pounds of specialty equipment, most for water rescue efforts.
He says the crews’ main task is searching for missing people and securing residents’ safety: “They would be going into areas that have not been able to be searched yet, most likely going in by air assets," he said, "so being flown in by helicopter and then dropped off in an area where they could do a grid search and make contact with people and search the homes that have been damaged or destroyed.”
The Boone County Fire Department will be posting updates as well as photos from Colorado through its social media sites.