SURFSIDE, Florida (WCMH) – A team of Ohioans is helping with massive search and recovery efforts in South Florida. Since Friday, Ohio Task Force One has been working constant 12-hour shifts alongside other FEMA crews at the site of a condominium collapse in Surfside, Florida.
“There’s a lot of work to be done still, but we’re making good progress everyday,” said Dr. Daniel Bachmann, the medical team manager for Ohio Task Force One.
Bachmann works in emergency medicine at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and has traveled with the FEMA crew responding to emergencies for years.
“Those previous deployments have been natural disasters, like hurricanes,” Bachmann explained. “So this deployment definitely has a different flavor than previous deployments.”
Tuesday marked the thirteenth day of search efforts at the condo site. On June 24, the 12 story building suddenly collapsed. Several dozen have been confirmed dead and more than 100 are still missing.
“We know that there are still victims at the site and we’re trying to provide closure for those families,” Bachmann said.
He described the mood as somber, but said morale is still high because many are motivated to provide answers about victims’ whereabouts to their loved ones.
“We recognize that this is important for the whole community to help heal,” he said. “[The experience has made me] aware that life is precious and we need to take care of each other when we can.”
Crews are monitoring a developing tropical storm that could threaten search efforts.
Bachmann explained Ohio Task Force One does not have an end date for its mission. The team will return home when their services are no longer necessary.