MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Crews from South Florida are sending help to the Florida Keys as they recover from Hurricane Irma.
The eye of the storm hit in the lower keys earlier this week, causing major damage to the area. Monroe County officials have been trying tirelessly to continue recovery efforts but they need a rest.
Miami-Dade County is sending their Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) to help patrol the streets of the upper keys to give Monroe deputies some much needed temporary relief. This will continue until things normalize.
“We bleed blue and stand to help anywhere,” said Director of the Miami-Dade Police Department Juan Perez.
Wednesday he gave a pep talk to the 19 officers who were heading over to help.
“Despite our own crisis here at home where we may not have power, we may not have all of the amenities, our homes may need some repair, yard work and fences may be down but we’re in much better standing than the deputies down there. Many of them have not gone home yet since the storm and they don’t even know what they’re going home to or if they have a home,” said Perez.
Director Perez headed down in a helicopter to meet the officers as they begin their new temporary duties in the Upper Keys.
“They can relieve their personnel so they can attend to their own personal needs, maybe get some rest or patrol other areas that are in greater need. Law enforcement presence is much more needed for the local standpoint where there’s looting going on, some other activities they need to get a hold of,” said Perez.
Miami Beach is stepping in to help too. The city’s fire department sent a team of 12 to 20 firefighters to the Florida Keys to help clean-up efforts. The team was scheduled to leave around noon. They collected donations like non-perishable food, water, tarps, generators, flashlights, baby wipes and empty reusable fuel tanks.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office also sent help. Wednesday morning, it deployed its Communications On Wheels, or COW, to Monroe County.
A team of eight BSO specialists will set up a mobile communications center that will allow first responders there to coordinate their relief efforts.
Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue is also sending in a team.
“It’s 17 people in all that’ll be deployed. They have advanced life support equipment. They have their own supplies so they can take care of themselves,” said Mike Jachles with Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue.