FHP Headed West to Help

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Members of the Florida Highway Patrol headed west on Tuesday to assist those affected by Hurricane Katrina. Troopers will survey damage reminiscent of last year's record hurricane season in Florida.

Close to 60 men and women of the Florida Highway Patrol are prepared to leave Tallahassee and head west to areas hit hardest by Katrina.

While the state of Mississippi requested a stay of seven days, these troopers aren't planning to leave for two to three weeks.

Dennis Hobbs says, "What I've seen on the news, it's been a lot of flooding, so I'm not sure what our capacity is going to be, but we're going to support them any way we can."

LT John Bagnardi says, "You go to the shelters, and the shelters take hits. Then you have the situation where people put themselves in places where you just can't help. There is just no way to get to them; they're trapped. You assess and do the best you can."

Many of the troopers assisted in the aftermath of Florida's record hurricane season last year, and judging from the images on television, they expect the damage along the Gulf coast to be just as bad.

Tammy Binder says, "I actually have family just north of Hattiesburg. That's 90 miles from Gulfport, but I haven't been able to get a hold of anybody."

Troopers feel their job will be twofold, providing security and traffic control as well as creating a sense of hope for hurricane survivors, where for some hope may be lost.