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'It's a great feeling' : Southeast Texas emergency crews ready and willing to help Floridians ahead of Hurricane Ian

"There are times when we are under the gun here, or we are being affected by a storm, and we need help from others."

BEAUMONT, Texas — Southeast Texans are no strangers to serious storms and are ready to help those in Florida as Hurricane Ian approaches the state.

Hurricane Ian is rapidly intensifying and is expected to strengthen into a Category 4 Hurricane by Tuesday or Wednesday.

The hurricane is expected to reach the western coast of Florida by late Thursday. As the storm approaches, the scramble along the coast continues. 

Floridians are filling up on food, water, sandbags and fuel. The governor of Florida declared a state of emergency as it nears. 

"We expect to have to evacuate over 300,000 people. and it will take some time,” Bonnie Wise, Hillsborough County administrator, said. “Time is of the essence. Act now.”

The situation is stressful, and it is one Texans are familiar with. The familiarity is why Southeast Texans are ready and willing to help.

"This could be a very catastrophic storm that hits them," Eddie Burleigh, operations manager with Acadian Ambulance, said.

Credit: Acadian Ambulance

Related: 43 U-Haul locations in Florida offering 30 days of free self-storage ahead of Hurricane Ian

At Acadian Ambulance, area first responders are lining up at the chance to get to the front lines.  

"Most of our employees volunteer,” Burleigh said. “I had some sign up as soon as there was a hint of a storm coming into the gulf."

Early Monday morning, Acadian Ambulance deployed 10 unites from four states, including some from Southeast Texas, to a staging area in Pensacola in preparation for Hurricane Ian. Twenty-two crew members will assist in evacuations and storm response.

"Responding to emergencies as soon as it's safe to do so after the storm, augmenting their current 911 systems, as well as post storm repatriation, which is bringing people back afterwards,” Burleigh said.

Entergy announced plans to send 55 workers from Texas as part of 400 total workers to support Florida.

As Florida prepares for the worst, they can have some assurance that help is on the way.

"There are times when we are under the gun here, or we are being affected by a storm and we need help from others, which we always appreciate," Burleigh said. "So, it's a great feeling to provide and help someone else."

The Acadian crews arrived in Pensacola Monday afternoon. They will work directly with the Florida department of health and will be deployed as needed. 

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