Crews from New York area head south to help with response to Hurricane Irma

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Amy Freeze reports on first responders in our area heading to Florida to help.

After lending a hand to victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, first responders from the New York area are now heading to Florida and the Caribbean to assist with the response to Hurricane Irma.

The same unit that performed more than 500 rescues from the Houston floods will perform relief efforts after Irma.

The New York Air National Guard touched down in San Juan, Puerto Rico Thursday.

The members of the 106th Rescue Wing are based on Long Island.

Gov. Cuomo ordered that 124 members of the unit head to the Caribbean.

They are arriving with boats, helicopters and special equipment to help with rescues.

Cuomo also deployed Task Force 2, a specialized team of first responders and equipment skilled in structural collapse rescue, excavation emergencies, technical rope rescues, confined space rescue, and other specialized rescues to Florida.

In addition, 28 members of a joint task force of the American Red Cross and FDNY are departing Friday for a two-week deployment.

"For New York City in general, we've experienced a lot of really bad situations, most notably of course 9/11," said Doug Bainton of the FDNY Disaster Assistance Response team. "And for a lot of my team members, that's a huge part of giving back because we did get a lot of help from all around the world when that hit, and it means a lot to us to be able to go anywhere we can to pay that back and show people that we haven't forgotten what you've done for us."

Members of the New Jersey National Guard left for Florida from Cape May with supplies.

They are expected to stage in Alabama until Irma passes and they get specific instructions from FEMA on where to go.

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