Two firefighters of the Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory returned to much fanfare early Friday morning after assisting East Coast residents before and after Hurricane Sandy.
Lt. Nate Iden and Battalion Chief Aaron Bolinger both worked in areas around Ventnor and Barneget, New Jersey. Batallion Chief Bolinger compared the storm to weather common to Indiana.
“The storm didn’t seem much different than a tornado that we have here, it just lasted much longer,” said Bolinger. “Nobody knew what to expect. We really didn’t have much access to a TV. People here at home probably knew more than we did. We just knew about the specific areas we were located.”
The primary duties involved responding in lieu of local EMS teams as they tended to their families and homes. The pair also worked in shelters taking care of EMS needs and assisting residents back into their homes. Fortunately for their area, no major rescues were required.
For the two Warsaw firefighters, this is the first major real world disaster response. But they are well prepared.
“Our department has been involved with a technical rescue team for six years now,” said Bolinger. “The past two years we have been part of large disaster drills in southern Indiana. This was the first type of deployment of resources for the state of Indiana ever at the state level.”
The two deployed in response to a request from the New Jersey EMS Task Force, squad 85. The pair was joined by two ambulances and four personnel from Multi-Township EMS.
The Kosciusko County Chapter of the American Red Cross volunteers joined 30 volunteers from the Kosciusko, Elkhart and St. Joe counties from Indiana, with an additional volunteer leaving Sunday.
If you would like to volunteer for response services with the American Red Cross, you can schedule for training courses by calling the chapter at (574) 267-5244.