For Immediate Release
Springfield Fire Department rescue specialists return home after helping in flooded Colorado areas
Two Springfield Fire Department rescue specialists – Brian Schafer and Jay Lisenby – are happy to be back in Missouri after spending a week performing search-and-rescue operations in the flooded Larimer County, Colo., area with Missouri Task Force 1, a Federal Emergency Management Agency urban search and rescue team.
The two, along with 78 other firefighters and emergency workers, four search dogs and 100,000 pounds of equipment, left MO-TF1’s headquarters in Columbia in 17 vehicles at 3:40 a.m. Sept. 15. They returned to Missouri Sept. 23.
The Colorado operation’s base was a tent city in Loveland, Colo., Schafer said, and the teams worked 12-hour days with local agencies, the National Guard, Nevada Task Force 1 and other emergency personnel.
Assignments varied from initial structure entry and damage assessment to wide-area search and rescue to coordinating civilian evacuations to humanitarian assistance.
Schafer, who joined MO-TF1 in 2002 and works out of Fire Station No. 1, was on the operation’s MO-13 search and rescue team, which was airlifted by military helicopter to the Crystal Mountain area.
Lisenby, who works out of Fire Station No. 8 and has been a MO-TF1 member for four years, was on the MO-15 team and was airlifted by military helicopter to the Glen Haven (also called The Retreat) area.
Both men said joining the elite team was a draw to them because of the training and experience FEMA provides.
“FEMA, as a federal agency, receives more funding for training than we as a fire department do. The hands-on experience you get while on one of these operations is just an incredible opportunity,” Lisenby said. “It’s great to be able to bring that experience back here.”
During their six days in Larimer County, MO-TF1 personnel searched and evaluated 1,133 structures, provided medical,evacuation and humanitarian assistance to more than 600 Larimer County citizens and assisted with the evacuation of more than 100 pets.
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For more information, contact: Springfield Fire Department Assistant Chief David Pennington, (417) 864-1530 or firstname.lastname@example.org.