LAFAYETTE — Since forming in 2018, the Lafayette Parish Sheriff Office's Search and Rescue Team have worked numerous calls during storms, rescuing people from cars and homes during high or fast moving water.
"There are many more components than just search and rescue. For example, we need to get people to and from work. If you have a jail for example, if you can't change your shift out because deputies can't get to work, you have a problem. Hospitals have continuously relied on us," Sheriff Mark Garber said.
With the potential for flooding rains in the forecast for this weekend, Garber says the team stays prepared for anything.
"It's the kind of thing you don't know what is happening until it's happening."
LPSO says they start preparing 72 hours in advance.
"We start going through the rosters and make sure we have certified people to perform each job we need performed," Spokesman Capt. John Mowell explained.
The search and rescue team have a high water vehicle, several kayaks, and a boat prepped and ready to go when the call comes.
"This device on the front is a diver support and victim lift device," Garber said as he shows the features of the boat. "It actually allows us to lift a person out of the water."
In addition to helping with weather events, they also assist in finding missing people on land. They have special equipment to help them do just that.
"The packs contains things like maps, GPS, things that a rescue technician will need in order to sustain themselves for 24-48 hours," Mowell said.
Although hurricane season started a few weeks ago, the search and rescue dive team have already made several high water rescues this year, including during last month's flooding.
The team is made up of LPSO deputies and other officials from around the parish.