By Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4) – Some of the same first responders who came to Colorado’s aid after our historic flood four years ago this Saturday are now in Florida as Hurricane Irma bears down on the state.

(credit: CBS)

Micki Trost with the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management says it’s our chance to give back for all the help we received.

Micki Trost (credit: CBS)

She says nearly 140 Colorado first responders are on the ground in Florida.

Five emergency operations teams flew out from Denver International Airport before dawn Saturday morning.

(credit: Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management)

Trost says they know first-hand what’s ahead, “They were all part of the 2013 response.”

(credit: Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management)

Colorado Urban Search and Rescue is also now in Florida.

The Task Force consists of firefighters from 22 Colorado departments, including swift water rescue teams, hazmat technicians and medics. The Colorado National Guard is also sending a communications team to help with cell and satellite capabilities.

(credit: CBS)

“The piece we can definitely relate to is knowing that Emergency Operations Center and all those counties across Florida and the state E.O.C. is going to be activated for months,” says Trost. “From our experience, my experience, the flood the water-related damage is much different, it’s much harder, to recover from. So, it’s providing that staff so we can get them through and support them through the long shifts they’re going to have.”

She says Colorado is still recovering four years after historic flooding.

“We’re still building back lots of critical infrastructure – so roads, bridges. We’re still assisting in many different areas. We expected when we had that flood that it would take us a minimum of ten years to say that everything was fixed and back in place. We’re on track for that but it’s a long effort,” says Trost.

The 2013 flood stretched from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins. It killed eight people and caused more than a billion dollars in damage.

Trost says the state received so many donations that it had to rent storage space.

She says Texas, which was hit by Hurricane Harvey, has asked us not to send things like food and clothes for the same reason – it doesn’t have room.

If you want to help Texas or Florida, Trost says the best thing you can do is donate money to one of the relief organizations.

Shaun Boyd is CBS4’s political specialist. She’s a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.


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