LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- As Hurricane Ida inches closer and closer to the Louisiana coast, a group of first responders from Colorado will be standing by for whatever comes next.
Early Saturday morning, 45 members of Colorado Task Force 1 packed up for what will likely be an unpredictable next few days. The task force is made up of personnel from fire agencies across the Front Range.
"It's a job that somebody has to do," task force leader Brian Daley said.
For their journey to Alexandria, Louisiana, where they'll be staging before Ida's landfall, they're bringing along things like food and water, generators, tools, and, perhaps most useful, boats for water rescues.
"A lot of things we'd be looking at now are floods, making sure that people are safe from floods, they're out of their homes. If they're trapped in the homes, we can get them out," Daley said.
Ida is expected to hit the Louisiana coast as a strong hurricane Sunday afternoon or evening, bringing with it powerful winds, about 15 feet of storm surge in some parts and nearly a foot of rain.
"This will be a life-altering storm for those who aren't prepared and ready to take what it is going to throw at us," National Weather Service spokesperson Benjamin Schott said Friday afternoon.
In New Orleans, for example, people have no other options but to stay and hunker down or leave and escape the storm's path.
"The city cannot issue a mandatory evacuation because we don't have the time," New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said.
Sunday, Aug. 29, marks 16 years since Hurricane Katrina made landfall. The storm and its aftermath killed about 1,800 people.
Hurricane Ida is following a similar path, and Colorado Task Force 1 will be ready to help just as its members were in 2005.
"There are some folks that are in trouble, and we're going to try and go down and see what we can do to help them out," Daley said.