Utah Task Force 1 arrives in New Orleans ahead of Hurricane Ida

Aug 30, 2021, 12:35 PM
hurricane ida utah task force 1 heads out to help...
An abandoned vehicle is half submerged in a ditch next to a near flooded highway as the outer bands of Hurricane Ida arrive Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, in Bay Saint Louis, Miss. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Members of Utah Task Force 1, one of 28 similar urban search & rescue teams in the US overseen by FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, arrived safely in New Orleans yesterday ahead of Hurricane Ida. 

The category 4 storm hit the Louisiana coast Sunday night with winds reaching 172 miles per hour.

Utah Task Force 1 provides Ida aid

Bryan Case, Program Manager for Utah Task Force 1, says five team members traveled to Louisiana from Utah ahead of Ida. The task force’s Facebook page identified four of the team members as Unified Fire Authority employees. It did not identify the fifth person. The four identified include: 

  • Mike Ulibarri, Battalion Chief with Unified Fire Authority and Utah Task Force 1 Operations Section Chief
  • UFA Captain Keith Bevan, Utah Task Force 1 Planning Section Chief
  • Unified Firefighter/Paramedic Keith Plagemann, Deputy Logistics Section Chief
  • UFA Firefighter/Paramedic Embret Fossom, Deputy Plans Chief  

Case told KSL NewsRadio’s Dave & Dujanovic Monday the team’s duties on the ground in Louisiana will include going door to door to look for stranded people. The Utah-based crew may also crawl through rubble looking for Ida survivors, and possibly use boats to get into flooded areas.  

“They started just after 3 a.m. with a list of reverse 911 calls,” said Case. “These are people who refuse to evacuate, have nowhere else to go but their attics, and get trapped.”

Case said rescue teams get the of 911 calls because, “Unfortunately, people call too late.”

Going on foot not an option

Case says Utah Task Force 1 has six military-style boats at their disposal to help with the Hurricane Ida response.  Many homes may still be submerged, so going on foot isn’t an option.  The team also uses specialized equipment like listening devices and cameras to try and find people trapped underneath rubble.

The National Hurricane Center says Ida is tied as the 5th strongest storm to make landfall in the United States.  And it made landfall Aug. 29, 2021, exactly 16 years to the day after the arrival of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. 

The Associated Press reports at least 1 person died as a result of the storm. In addition, an estimated 1 million people are without power, and there could be hundreds of people trapped by flood waters.  

Louisiana officials say Ida strengthened from a Category 2 to a 4 so quickly, there was no time to organize a more formal evacuation.

Read more: 

Today’s Top Stories


The world's largest active volcano is shooting fountains of lava more than 100 feet high and sendin...
Holly Yan and Aya Elamroussi, CNN

Lava is spilling toward a key Hawaiian highway, but the governor says it’s safe to visit the Big Island

The world's largest active volcano is shooting fountains of lava more than 100 feet high and sending a river of molten rock down toward the main highway of Hawaii's Big Island.
11 hours ago
Gov. Cox mental health...
Mark Jackson

Utah’s Coordinated Action Plan for Water released this week

Utah’s Coordinated Action Plan for Water was released Wednesday by Gov. Spencer Cox and state agencies.
11 hours ago
A motorist drives through the snow in Olympus Cove in Salt Lake County. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret...
Curt Gresseth

Be Ready Utah: What you need in your emergency winter car kit

After a significant snowfall in northern Utah, are you prepared for a winter emergency while on the roads? Wade Mathews of Utah Division of Emergency Management -- Be Ready Utah joins the shows to give out holidays tips on being prepared for any challenges while driving.
2 days ago
USGS posted two photos on Monday from a Civil Air Patrol flight which shows the Mauna Loa volcano e...
Chandler Holt

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa is erupting for the first time since 1984

The world's largest active volcano, Mauna Loa on Hawaii, is erupting for the first time in nearly 40 years. Though lava is flowing down one side of the volcano, the eruption in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is not threatening communities.
2 days ago
emergency snow...
Elizabeth Weiler

Emergency snow preparation will prove vital this winter

Officials from the Utah Division of Emergency Management, say a "preparedness mindset" is the best prevention for danger.
2 days ago
dangerous avalanche...
Kira Hoffelmeyer and Elizabeth Weiler

Snow storm brings highly dangerous avalanche conditions

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Avalanche Center is warning of highly dangerous avalanche conditions this morning.  Specifically, Salt Lake County mountains have a high danger rating.  Dangerous avalanche conditions may result in traffic issues and adjustments to morning commutes are temperatures drop below freezing.  In the 2021-2022 avalanche season, Utah reported no fatalities in […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Utah Task Force 1 arrives in New Orleans ahead of Hurricane Ida