Ohio Task Force 1 conducting searches in tornado-hit areas in Kentucky, awaiting further assignment

VANDALIA — UPDATE @ 3:35 p.m. (Dec. 13):

Members of the Ohio Task Force 1 Type III team arrived in Kentucky Monday morning and are awaiting further assignments as tornado recovery continues across much of the state.

>>RELATED: Kentucky tornadoes: Biden to visit Kentucky Wednesday

The exact location of OH-TF1′s deployment is still pending the assignment however the team started conducting “wide-area searches” when they arrived in Kentucky, a spokesperson for OH-TF1 said in a Facebook post.

With the over 30 members that deployed with the Type III team, four members were from the Dayton Fire Department, Assistant Fire Chief Nicholas Hosford told News Center 7 Monday.

>>Kentucky tornadoes: How you can help

Hosford said the partnership between OH-TF1 and the department has been beneficial for several years especially with the training, expertise, and experience the task force members get.

“To have Ohio Task Force 1 as a resource in our backyard is a fabulous component for every member of the department. They have team members from all across the state and several surrounding states,” Hosford said.

“For this particular department, we have district chief, captains, firefighters, personnel at each level of our ranks part of the team and we get huge benefits from those personnel and their expertise.”

(Western Kentucky) - 12/13/21 - 9:00 AM - Just a quick update, OHTF1 arrived in Western Kentucky early this morning and...

Posted by Ohio Task Force 1 on Monday, December 13, 2021

While members of this team were heading out of state to help with the Kentucky tornado recovery, some of the OH-TF1 trained members of the Dayton Fire Department were ones who helped in the aftermath of the Memorial Day tornadoes in 2019 in the Miami Valley.

“When we had our tornado event those same members were the ones that were responding and helping us formulate our search and rescue plans and rapidly deploy to help the citizens of Dayton and the surrounding areas,” Hosford said.

Additional details were not available. We’ll continue to update this page as we learn more.


Ohio Task Force 1 personnel are preparing to respond to communities affected by tornadoes that touched down in Kentucky early Saturday morning.

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OH-TF1 was officially activated as a Type III Urban Search and Rescue team to respond for post-term search and rescue efforts Sunday, according to Phil Sinewe, OH-TF1 spokesperson.

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According to the Red Cross, at least 24 tornadoes ripped across five states overnight, impacting people in Kentucky as well as in Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, and Tennessee.

OH-TF1 will be joining other Type III teams Missouri and Tennessee. Indiana Task Force 1 was deployed as a Type III team, but has since been upgraded to a Type 1 team.

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Program manager Evan Schumann talked to News Center 7 about their deployment.

“It’s always hard and unpleasant, but as you well know, this Task Force has a large number of deployments,” Schumann said.

Forty-five crew members, along with two K-9s, will help with recovery efforts, he said. The crew has equipment needed for handling building collapses, HAZMAT equipment to protect from toxic fumes, search cameras and listening devices to find people buried in the rubble.

Since their first deployment to the World Trade Center in September 2001, OH-TF1 has had 25 deployments, but Schumann said what they are heading into was new for them.

OH-TF1 left their Vandalia headquarters around 10 p.m. Sunday night, and could be deployed for up to 16 days.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the death toll is expected to be over 100.