80 FFs' homes damaged by Hurricane Laura, IAFF sends in repair teams
The IAFF has organized a "Go-Team" to provide relief to members affected by the Category 4 hurricane
By Laura French
LAKE CHARLES, La. — The International Association of Fire Fighters has organized a "Go-Team" in Louisiana and Texas to help repair members' homes that were damaged by Hurricane Laura.
The IAFF reported that at least 80 firefighters' homes were damaged during the Category 4 hurricane, which made landfall Thursday morning. The association said most of the damaged homes are in Lake Charles, Louisiana, which was in the direct path of the eye of the storm.
The Go-Team has established command centers in Crowley, Louisiana, and Beaumont, Texas, to assist firefighters who were displaced during the storm as well as firefighters needing repairs from wind damage and downed trees. Peer support services are also available to members affected by the storm.
IAFF officials from the 11th, 12th, 14th and 16th districts are coordinating Go-Team operations with assistance from the Professional Fire Fighters Association of Louisiana, Texas State Association of Fire Fighters and HEART 911, a group of active and retired New York first responders who provide relief in the aftermath of natural disasters.
The Go-Team, which has been on the ground since last Thursday, has already completed repairs to dozens of firefighters' homes, the IAFF said on Sunday.
The IAFF previously provided assistance to members whose homes were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, which hit the Gulf Coast 15 years ago.
"We learned a lot from our response to Katrina and this union's disaster relief operations are now much more sophisticated," IAFF President Harold Schaitberger said in a statement. "We are able to mobilize quickly to bring disaster relief assistance where it's needed for as long as it's needed."