Northeast Ohioans head to Texas to help after Tropical Storm Harvey

Posted at 4:26 PM, Aug 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-28 16:35:36-04

When the call for help came from Houston, folks here in Northeast Ohio were ready to answer - volunteers, emergency crews and equipment were sent right away.

Brian Harting, Team Leader for Ohio 2 Search and Rescue, said his friend and colleague, Euclid Fire Captain Chris Caimi, was dispatched right away.

"We're good friends. He's very active with our team here, very good guy," he said.

Activated by FEMA, Caimi is a part of the State Task Force 1 team and is joined by three members of Summit County Water rescue.

The task force has already rescued several people in the Houston area trapped or hurt by Tropical Storm Harvey, according to Harting.

"There was a person stranded in a tree, raging waters underneath, they preformed that rescue. There was a handicap individual assisted, at least 10 people brought in last night using boats and tactics," according to Harting.

The group is still hard at work Monday.

"Conditions are tough! I understand through the evening water levels were rising and there was struggle for the team to get to higher ground," Harting said.

Official teams and rescue squads aren't the only Northeast Ohioans answering the call for help.

Community Care Ambulance learned they could help and immediately sent out three ambulances, three paramedics and three EMTs overnight.

"They'll be providing first aid, transportation, EMS and evacuations if necessary," Operations Manager Paula Shenal said

Shenal and Harting both told News 5 when you're a first responder and you see images like the ones coming out of Texas, those hundreds of miles are well worth traveling.

"People are in need. They need our help. We are ready and we are going," Paula Shenal said.

"That's what we all live for. Help others and save people," Brian Harting said.

Local churches are also making plans to help Houston recover both long and short term. You can find links to their sites here: 

United Church of Christ - Wind & Flood Disaster: Hurrican Harvey

Columbia Road Baptist Church - Disaster Relief