'Help our friends': Melbourne airport, firefighters helping with recovery from Idalia

First responders are on their way to North Florida to help with recovery efforts post Hurricane Idalia.

While Brevard was spared from the worst weather, people know other Floridians need help and want to do what they can. 

At the Melbourne Orlando International Airport (MLB), about 50 National Guard members are stationed to help with search and rescue efforts in other parts of the state. At a moment’s call, they can take off and start crucial recovery missions. 

Ten Florida National Guard choppers used MLB as a staging ground and landed choppers on Tuesday. 

"We did everything that we could to make this operation happen. We know how important it is, and we’re committed to helping our fellow Floridians," said Keely Leggett who’s the public information officer with the airport. 

 The airport made sure to have space on the tarmac for three Chinooks, one Lakota, and six Blackhawks because severe storms affect everyone.

"We all know what it’s like to have one of these storms impact our community. We’ve all been affected at one time or another, so it’s such an honor to be able to provide assistance even in a small way to help our friends in the big bend," Leggett added. 

 The airport isn’t the only organization lending a helping hand.

 "This was a big moment especially for us at Palm Bay Fire Rescue," said John Ringleb who’s the public information officer for the fire department.

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Palm Bay Fire Rescue prepares to assist with Hurricane Idalia recovery efforts. [Credit: Palm Bay Fire Rescue]

Local firefighters are also on their way to north Florida.

"There is no space left abandoned in that apparatus. I mean, they are stuffed to the gills," Ringleb added. 

 They’re joining other strike teams who are mobilizing in hard-hit areas to help with "debris removal, to opening up riads, to responding to EMS calls, to responding to fire calls." 

 First responders say they want to do anything that they can to help communities as recovery begins.

 "Everybody worked really, really hard to make this team get together," Ringleb concluded. 

It takes a lot of planning to send a strike team like this to an area because fire departments have to make sure they have enough staffing for their local communities. Palm Bay, Brevard County Fire Rescue, Melbourne, Cocoa Beach and Satellite Beach all have firefighters heading to help. 

Crews are planning to stay for around two weeks before rotating in other aid if needed.