CALCUTTA, Ohio (WKBN) – The Calcutta Volunteer Fire Department is leading the charge to be part of a certified search and rescue team.

It would be the only search and rescue team within Columbiana County, but there’s still more training to do before that happens.

A search and rescue team is made up of first responders set up to help the public during times like natural disasters.

“And to have the specialty equipment that comes with it to help that. You figure, not just tornados or floods in our area, but we’ve got winter storms in our area that are so bad that could last several days,” said Lt. Randy Schneider, of the Calcutta Volunteer Fire Department.

The idea was formed from the experiences that the Calcutta Volunteer Fire Department has seen in the last few years, traveling to different states that have seen massive damage.

“We’ve kind of always had it in our mind, but we weren’t nationally or federally certified,” said Calcutta Chief Dave McCoy.

The department is looking to get more county first responders involved. Once a disaster hits, they determine how bad it is and then call in the resources, which can include anything like tree-cutting services. Then, a command center would be set up.

“To handle all the phone calls — would be trees on houses, people trapped, anything of that nature. We’ve actually even had cars with trees fallen on them on the roadways, with people in them,” McCoy said.

The local authorities would be in charge.

They are also looking to add dive and ice rescue teams.

There are multiple units under search and rescue, just to make sure they can be ready when needed.

“Natural disaster can happen everywhere. Every single disaster that I’ve been on and the ones that Chief McCoy has been on will tell you that each one of those communities said they were not prepared,” Schneider said.

It’s going to take the department another year before it is certified.

If you’re looking to join the search and rescue team, contact the fire department.