Rescue crews from Cherokee Nation gearing up to help during Florence aftermath

Rescue crews from Cherokee Nation gearing up to help during Florence aftermath (KTUL)

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (KTUL) -- As hurricane Florence nears landfall, rescue groups from across the country are heading east to help, including a task force from the Cherokee Nation.

At a moment's notice, they have to be ready to head into danger.

Shannon Buhl heads up the swift water rescue teams with the Cherokee Nation’s emergency management division.

“Our special operations team; we have eight members of our team," said Buhl.

All of them are now heading to Cherokee, North Carolina, one of the areas likely to get hit by Hurricane Florence.

“Our team, when it gets in a disaster, has to be self sufficient," said Buhl.

Especially since they could be on the ground for days, even weeks.

They’re packing up today and leaving tomorrow morning to go wherever they're needed.

They’re bringing two boats, two trucks and a lot of heart.

“With the continued rainfall they’ve had, they’re expecting some severe flooding," said Buhl.

Buhl and his crew have covered the biggest natural disasters over the last two decades, and even though Florence was downgraded, it could still do some major damage, and they know they’re still needed.

“We know we’re making an impact, and we know we’re helping people who really really need help," said Buhl.

“We would rather be there and not be needed as to be here and be desperately needed," said Principal Chief Bill John Baker.

Baker was watching today as the marshals prepared for the trip, impressed by what the group is getting ready to do.

“They can use their God-given talents, skills and training for the benefit of humanity," said Baker.

They're helping their families clear across the country in the face of a massive storm.

The rescue crews keep busy year round. They’ve used their equipment locally during severe floods all across Oklahoma.

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