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Published: Mon, September 11, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Tennessee Task Force One Deploys To Hurricane Irma After Short Respite

Tennessee Task Force One Deploys To Hurricane Irma After Short Respite

Eleven members of Virginia Task Force 2 have been moved from San Juan, Puerto Rico to the island of St. Thomas amid response to the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma.

About a third of the team that went to Texas to aid in Hurricane Harvey is being redeployed, including K-9 specialist Andrew Pitcher and his golden retriever, "Chief".

More members from Missouri Task Force. The team is made up of first responders from the Lincoln and Omaha areas.

"They are exhausted and a little beat up, but if I pulled them back and told them they couldn't go because I thought they were too exhausted, they'd probably beat me up", Despain said. It is unclear if they will be mobilized and sent back east.

"It was everybody, all hands on deck, pitching in".

Team members like Capt. Caimi are rehabbing equipment and making sure they are packed up and fully prepared as soon as orders from FEMA come.

The group is under the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and is coordinated by Lincoln Fire and Rescue.

Maintaining staffing long-term is a general concern with back-to-back deployments, as firefighters here work longer weeks with fewer days off, Despain said.

The task force has 210 members, and approximately 48 of those members took part in the Hurricane Harvey relief effort.

The 80-person team pulled into Eglin Air Force Base, near Pensacola, around 4 p.m. Saturday, where they await the arrival of the Category 4 storm.

Stay with WAVY.com for the latest on Hurricane Irma.

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