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Ohio Task Force 1 activated ahead of Idalia

Aug 29, 2023

DAYTON, Ohio — Ohio Task Force 1 has been activated ahead of Tropical Storm Idalia, which is expected to strengthen into a hurricane and hit the Florida Gulf Coast later this week.

OTF-1 said the activation request asked for a 47-person Type 111 Team, which includes two canines and a full equipment cache. The team will depart from Vandalia at 5 a.m. Tuesday morning and will stage ahead of the storm. The team said they will be prepared to help as necessary.

As of Monday morning, Hurricane and Storm Surge Warnings have been issued for parts of the Florida Gulf Coast. A state of emergency was declared over the weekend for 33 counties.

Idalia is south of Cuba, producing speeds of 65 mph. It's expected to continue to head north, eventually becoming a hurricane that will move near or over western Cuba Monday.

Matthew 25: Ministries, a humanitarian aid and disaster relief organization in Blue Ash, is preparing to help those affected by Idalia as well.

"Matthew 25: Ministries will continue monitoring the path of the storm as it moves through the Gulf, and will stay in close contact with partners in the area to determine what combination of supplies and services will best serve the needs of the disaster region once the storm makes landfall," the organization said in a press release.

In preparation, the organization is collecting donations for both those who may be in Idalia's path, as well as future disasters.

The following products can be dropped off at 11083 Kenwood Rd. in Blue Ash, Ohio:

Matthew 25: Ministries is also taking monetary donations both online and through mail, which can be sent to 11060 Kenwood Rd. in Blue Ash, Ohio. The organization said all donated funds will go toward assistance for Tropical Storm Idalia.

Additionally, OTF-1 announced it's headed back to Vandalia from Maui, Hawaii, where areas were devastated by wildfires.

OTF-1 was originally activated on Aug. 15 with three handler/dog teams. They began work on Lahaina on Aug. 17, helping teams sort through the aftermath of the wildfires.

According to Maui police, at least 115 people have died from the wildfires.