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US Hurricane Ian sidelines first responders in parts of Fla.

08:51  29 september  2022
08:51  29 september  2022 Source:   newsnationnow.com

Tropical Storm Ian still pounding Florida in '500-year flooding event'; 2.6M without power: Live updates

  Tropical Storm Ian still pounding Florida in '500-year flooding event'; 2.6M without power: Live updates A section of the Sanibel Causeway collapsed into San Carlos Bay, cutting off access to the barrier island. Tropical Storm Ian updates.The death toll was rising and residents desperately sought rescue Thursday as historically powerful Hurricane Ian, now a tropical storm, hammered Florida with heavy rain and strong winds, one of the strongest systems in U.S. history.

(NewsNation) - In regions of Florida where Hurricane Ian is unleashing the brunt of its destruction through 150 mph winds and storm surges more than 10 feet high, emergency response crews are asking those calling 911 to be patient.

Hurricane Ian sidelines first responders in parts of Fla. © Provided by News Nation Hurricane Ian sidelines first responders in parts of Fla.

In places where torrential winds are still blowing at over 45 mph, first responder crews are unable to rescue people and those in need are being told to wait until it is safe enough for emergency crews to venture outside.

"At this point, it is simply unsafe for emergency personnel to venture out there. We have to wait until that 45 mph wind marker is under that for our teams to go out there," said Jamie Carson, the communications director for Sarasota County. "They're poised and ready and as soon as that happens, we're out there and we will be assisting the community."

Pine Island residents recount horror, fear as Ian bore down

  Pine Island residents recount horror, fear as Ian bore down PINE ISLAND, Fla. (AP) — Paramedics and volunteers with a group that rescues people after natural disasters went door to door Saturday on Florida's devastated Pine Island, offering to evacuate residents who spoke of the terror of riding out Hurricane Ian in flooded homes and howling winds. The largest barrier island off Florida’s Gulf Coast, Pine Island has been largely cut off from the outside world. Ian heavily damaged the only bridge to the island, leaving it only reachable by boat or air. For many, the volunteers from the non-profit Medic Corps were the first people they have seen from outside the island in days.

VIDEO: Fire crews rescue people outside flooded fire station

Carson said Sarasota's 911 dispatch has been "inundated" with calls and they are asking everyone to "be patient" as they wait for the storm to calm so emergency crews can activate.

Some emergency response crews do not anticipate they will be able to go out on rescue missions until early Thursday morning as the storm continues to surge across the state.

"At this point, there is nothing we can do except ride it out and be prepared as soon as we can go back out," said Cape Coral, Fla. Fire Chief Ryan Lamb. "Current projections are somewhere around early tomorrow morning, 5 a.m. or so. If we can get out there sooner, based on sustained wind being less than 45 mph and those waters going down, we'll be out there as quick as we can."

Buildings leveled. Homes underwater. Fort Myers Beach 'is gone' after Hurricane Ian damage.

  Buildings leveled. Homes underwater. Fort Myers Beach 'is gone' after Hurricane Ian damage. A chunk of the causeway connecting Sanibel Island to Florida's mainland had fallen into the sea Wednesday, cutting off access to the barrier island.She watched her neighbors wade to and from their homes, hoping to salvage something from the wreckage. She wondered how her home in the nearby Iona Ranch mobile home had fared after Hurricane Ian, but knew the devastation likely took it as well.

Emergency crews in Florida that have been active are encountering harrowing conditions and hazards while responding to 911 calls.

Rob Herrin, the public information officer for the Hillsborough County Fire and Rescue Department, said that as of around 7 p.m. EST, crews were still able to respond to 911 calls, but the time allowable for them to do that was quickly dwindling.

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"I can tell you firsthand our crews are experiencing response difficulties," Herrin said. "There's been some structure fires we've been going to that we had to divert around trees down, power lines in the way."

AJ Fraser of PANSOC search and rescue, a volunteer rescue team, said his crew was preparing for all possibilities when it eventually ventures to inland Florida to conduct river and flood water rescues.

His crew brought 7-foot inflatable boats rigged with 25 horsepower motors, scuba gear, chain saws, axes and even battering rams in the event someone is pinned in their home or vehicle.

After Hurricane Ian hits Fort Myers, Black neighborhood residents say they aren’t counting on much help .
Residents in Dunbar say they have grown accustomed to relying on themselves and looking out for each other. Tolbert conserves gasoline usage, only running the generator for the refrigerator. She keeps the windows open at night to let brisk air in. “We can survive off anything,” Tolbert said. She, Simmons and Lindsey said care packages are rare. "If they do do it in our neighborhood, it's only one stop, one shop. And they don't do it in multiple places," Lindsey said.

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