Hurricane Michael

BATON ROUGE -- The Louisiana Office of the State Marshal sent a rescue team Wednesday morning to an area near the border of the Florida Panhandle in preparation for Hurricane Michael.

State Fire Marshal Butch Browning released a crew of 90 members of the Type 2 Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team with light search and rescue equipment to help once the Category 4 storm makes landfall early this afternoon.

"The equipment will allow them to open doors, breach walls and handle minor collapses," he said.

The crews will work under control of the Florida officials in ravaged areas, where they will search for injured or trapped residents.

A secondary search will send crews door to door and house to house to ensure everyone is accounted for, Browning said.

The USAR mission would not involve personnel from Livingston Parish, District 4 Fire Chief James Wascom said Wednesday.

"Those come from departments with a lot more personnel, in which the state owns the trucks and equipment, and strategically place them around the state," he said.

Assistance from the Livingston Parish departments would probably involve the loan-out of boats, Wascom said.

"The Office of the State Fire Marshal keeps a list of equipment and personnel rosters from every department, so they know what we have and if they need that, they'll contact us and we'll gladly oblige," Wascom said.

Wascom called upon the OSFM for USAR crews during the August 2016 flood to perform search and rescue in the heavily flooded areas.

The crews headed to Florida today are set to work a seven-day deployment under the request of Florida State Fire Marshal Julius Howse, but Browning said the active event will likely last only two or three days.

Winds of at least 145 mph are expected when it makes its projected landfall between Panama City and Apalachicola, Fla.

Hurricane Michael will reach the Florida coast as the strongest October hurricane ever recorded, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

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