Philadelphia firefighters head to Florida for Hurricane Matthew

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Action News was there as a large contingent of Philadelphia firefighters prepared to deploy to Florida to help in what's going to be a massive recovery effort. (WPVI)

Action News was in the Tacony section of Philadelphia Thursday night as a large contingent of Philadelphia firefighters prepared to deploy to Florida to help in what is expected to be a massive recovery effort in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

The large convoy makes up Pennsylvania Task Force 1, which was created by FEMA.

The group prepared for several hours, packing up gear and a number of vehicles.

Before heading out on their 15-hour journey, about 80 members of the group were briefed on their mission: to fan out across the state of Florida and assist wherever needed.

"Of course a lot of the task force members are Philadelphia firefighters, medics, EMTs, other partners," Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel told Action News. "We have a lot of people, though, who are members who come from all over. We have folks from as far as Baltimore County. We have folks from Harrisburg, almost every jurisdiction you can think of between here and Harrisburg. So this is truly Pennsylvania Task Force 1."

In addition to firefighters and medics, the task force includes K-9 teams, hazardous materials teams and water rescue teams from across Pennsylvania.

"Every day in the Philadelphia Fire Department we're preparing for the worst but hoping for the best," said Thiel. "Of course we're very proud and honored to be going and helping out with this incident, although we hope that it ... won't be as bad as some of the projections indicate."

The group joins ten other similar teams from across the country which are heading to Florida.
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