Local search and rescue team ready to help Irma victims

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MARION COUNTY, Fla -- People may need to be rescued after the storm hits the state, and a group of volunteers in Marion County is ready to lend more than a helping hand.

"We got our own generator so we're self sufficient," said Frank Marino, Director of the Marion County Search and Rescue Team.

The Marion County Search and Rescue Team is a group of nearly 45 local volunteers ready to help victims of Hurricane Irma free of charge. The team is comprised of retired firefighters, paramedics, engineers, even stay-at-home moms.

"We've been involved in everything from someone going missing in the forest to runaways to human trafficking," Marino said.

They're focus now is helping families affected by Irma in Marion and surrounding counties.

"We were not set up for flat water rescue until we saw Hurricane Harvey and saw the need to be prepared ahead of time. That's when we put the call out to see who had boats available and we got a great response," Marino said.

The group works closely with the Marion County Sheriff's Office and Ocala Police Department. Their equipment, including Jeeps, chainsaws and ladders, are owned and provided by members of the team.

The team also has medical equipment such as two portable defibrillators, four trauma packs and multiple oxygen tanks.

Most of the members are search and rescue technicians with structural collapse training.

"It'll probably be a little touchy seeing all that destruction and stuff like that, but I'll try to get through it just to help other people," said Linda Marino, Frank's wife.

The team's priority is not getting recognition, just saving lives.

"There's no pat on the back. Just hope you can save some people and help some people," she said.

If you would like to volunteer or donate supplies to the team, visit www.marioncountysearchandrescue.com, or email Frank Marino at marioncountysearchandrescue@yahoo.com.