Shelby Co. Hurricane Relief Team Arrives Home


November 15th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A five-member team of local responders from Shelby County dispatched to assist with Super Storm Sandy, arrived home this week, after having spent more than three weeks riding out the storm in Farmingdale, NY.

Shelby County Emergency Response Team (the day they left for NY) – Jason Wickizer photo.

Two teams were sent out during the storm to insure that water and food were on the ground ready for use when the sun rose the day after the storm hit. Shelby County Emergency Management officials report the teams served millions of meals, and thousands of gallons of drinking water. Prior to coming home, the team paid a visit to “Ground Zero,” the site of the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

The team, comprised of Jason Wickizer, Shelby County Emergency Medical Services Coordinator, Chad Kroger, Jordan Sanders, Andrea Systad and Ryne Nelson, worked long hours under stressful conditions. They worked a total of 256 hours over a 16 day assignment, or approximately 16 hours per day. Many of those hours went by without a break, with the team being on their feet the entire time. In addition to riding out winds of 75- to 85-miles per hour during the height of the storm, the team worked as the snow fell the following week.

Officials say the experience they gained in Incident Command and Disaster Response will be used to assist in training other responders locally. The crew also made many new friends and contacts during their stint.

They left Des Moines on October 28th enroute to New York, and returned to Harlan, Tuesday. Many of those same team members assisted in fighting wild fires in the western U-S in early August and September, and had just returned to Iowa before being mobilized for deployment to the east coast.