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Southeast Texas search, rescue groups seeking volunteers ahead of hurricane activity in Gulf

They said the best way for them to prepare ahead of time is to get volunteers ahead of time.

BEAUMONT, Texas — While we don't have any tropical weather in the forecast now, Southeast Texans know being prepared is the best way to weather the storms when they come.

Search and rescue organizations like the Cajun Navy and Gulf Search and Rescue have been preparing since the end of the last hurricane season.

They said the best way for them to prepare ahead of time is to get volunteers.

"We are on the ground before the winds die down," said Rob Gaudet, founder and CEO of Ground Force.

When disaster strikes, rescue teams like the Cajun Navy Ground Force dive into action.

"We call ourselves Ground Force because we are on the ground 99% of the time just helping,” Gaudet said.

Gaudet said if a storm was to hit tomorrow, his teams are ready to help. The key to their operations is trained volunteers.

"Last minute efforts like that, while very noble and valiant sometimes winds up getting a getting a logistics nightmare,” said Ken Turner with GulfSAR.

Turner said they get their volunteers trained and certified before sending them out.

"Safety for us is the number one priority. We don't put anybody on a boat unless they've been trained," Turner said.

And to have the time to train them, they're recruiting volunteers now.

"Rescue work, police work, fire work, law enforcement, any of that type of work definitely lines up with the objectives we try to pursue,” Turner said.

The same goes for the Cajun Navy. Gaudet said their volunteers are split into three programs.

  • Safe camp is an intense two to three week program that gets supplies out and is the first step in case of a natural disaster.
  • Community caretaking is a process that can go for months and focuses on helping victims rebuild.
  • There's also a remote team that works from home and oversees all the groundwork.

"Our goal is to be that organization that stays in is to help people in whatever way we can until they feel like they're their feet back on the ground," Gaudet said.

GulfSAR also has an app where you can sign up to volunteer, donate, or call for help in an emergency. Learn more about the Cajun Navy here

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