INDIANA, Ind. (WEHT) – As many Florida residents and their families flee the state to avoid Hurricane Ian, there are others who are headed towards the storm to provide aid to those in need.

Indiana task force 1 has been activated ahead of Hurricane Ian and are on the road headed to Alabama where they will be staged ahead of the storm hitting.

“Multiple jobs that we can do but are primary mission is to respond in a structural collapse situation and water rescue environments or again we can go out and search structures that have been inundated with storm surge or the winds that are coming through with the hurricane,” Gerald George, Indiana Task Force 1 leader said.

The American Red Cross Indiana region is also deploying help to Florida including one volunteer from the tri-state area.

“He is in Orlando right waiting for instruction on where exactly he will go,” Beth Sweeney, executive director for Indiana Southwest Red Cross said “He has previous experience working in shelters. We don’t know for sure that’s what he will be doing but we do know there will be several hurricane evacuation shelters set up in that area.”

These trained disaster workers will help in different ways that go beyond helping shelters.

“There trained to be there to operate those shelters provide meals,” Sweeney said. “To do things like disaster assessment. To look at peoples homes who have been displaced. We have mental health volunteers.”

There are 48 members of the Indiana Task Force traveling south that specialize in search-and-rescue operations.

“Biggest majority of personnel on our team are firefighters so they’re already into public safety and helping others,” George explained.” Opportunity for us to put all those resources together in a group called a task force to be able to go out and assist our neighbors and/or assist people in other states. Where ever it’s needed.”

Average missions for the Indiana Task Force 1 usually last between 10 to 14 days but that can always vary.