Mississippi Urban Search and Rescue Task Force assists people impacted by Pearl River flooding

Mississippi Urban Search and Rescue Task Force assists people impacted by Pearl River flooding
Task force members are trained for extreme environments. (Source: Mississippi Office of Homeland Security)

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - There are currently more than 30 Mississippi Urban Search and Rescue Task Force members from around the state who have gathered and are on standby in the Jackson area. They were activated at the request of MEMA and the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security. Teams arrived in Jackson on Saturday and started working with local emergency management needs. They helped some families and their pets out of homes around Terry.

“The typical response is people were aware the situation was coming, but they may have not been aware that it was going to be that bad," explained Mississippi Task Force 1 Deputy Task Force leader Ben McMinn. “In an event like this, people tend to lose water pressure, they could lose power and they begin to become uncomfortable where they are. And that’s why our teams are here. We want to be able to respond and remove them safely so we do not take a chance on someone trying to self evacuate by walking in flood waters. So, we have our boat teams placed to bring them out safely.”

They have 12 boat crews who are trained for all types of extreme environments.

“Swift water and flood water environments what’s under the water, the types of environments we’re working in whether it’s urban or suburban environment with moving water or standing water," said McMinn. "So, our teams are equipped. They’re constantly monitoring weather reports. They are out reconning--checking the areas before the water begins to rise so they have a better understanding of what they have to deal with when they do have to make a rescue.”

Those boat teams are made up of fire departments and emergency personnel from around the state.

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