As powerful Hurricane Irma continues to make its way through Florida, rescue efforts are underway.
Commander Mauricio Posada, the operations officer of the U.S. Coast Guard, says for the past 24 to 48 hours there have been multiple departments at the Opa-Locka Executive Airport ready to help.
“We have multiple crews actually stationed here that have experienced not only Irma but significant storms like [Hurricane] Sandy and Hurricane Katrina,” Posada tells People Now. “Well-trained crews are ready to get back to work.”
“[The] primary mission today is conducting search and rescue,” he adds. “The second mission will be reconstituting the ports.”
Rescue crews are working with both Sector Miami as well as Sector Key West to make sure the ports are safe for the maritime to reenter for both the public and the industry.
“We’ll be looking at the houses and the roadways but also the bridges to see what those conditions are,” he says. “We’re looking for the flow of support to go back into the Keys,” Posada says.
Officials still don’t know the full extent of the damage across the state. The system, which was downgraded to a tropical storm Monday morning, is being blamed from five deaths so far. More than 5.8 million are without power across the state.
Meanwhile, authorities are warning that it’s still not safe for evacuees to return home. Storm surge, debris and downed power lines still present a danger to large swaths of South Florida and the Gulf Coast.