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Local first responders return home from historic assignment

Posted at 10:27 PM, Jun 14, 2019

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Local first responders are back from disaster-stricken Oklahoma where they made history assisting after historic flooding and days of tornadoes. This is a specialized group of first responders that went to help the Cherokee Nation. It’s the first time an outside agency has been asked to help them.

In exclusive drone video, you can see the bloated Arkansas river, stretching over roads and into communities.

We watched the video with Delray Beach Police Department Sergeant Steve Hynes, who is also the Incident Commander for Region 7 South Florida All-Hazards Incident Management Team.

“Approximately 2 miles from where the airboat was launched, you would travel down this little highway until you hit the Arkansas River,” he said.

Cherokee Nation first responders came down to Florida to assist us post-Hurricane Irma in 2017, and now, for the first time, they asked for help.

“We were able to provide from our lessons learned, from the State of Florida not only to the Cherokee nation but to the surrounding communities,” he said. “The first responders that we were going out there to help support, they stayed in the fight from morning to night and never gave up so the least we can do is support their efforts.”

The 9-person team, including several Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue personnel, and a state liaison, spent 12 days in Oklahoma, working day and night.

They supported the Cherokee Nation in life-saving, animal rescues, moving supplies everything to try to help life there get back to normal there.

“Baptized through fire I guess is the best way to explain it, Florida is getting pretty good at dealing with disaster,” he said.

Hynes says that they couldn’t have done it without support locally and from the state.

AHIMT is a 40-person team from Palm Beach County to the Keys. The eight-person crew in Oklahoma is made up of six Palm Beach County-based rescue personnel, with a Sunrise Fire-Rescue member, and another from the state level emergency management office.