UCF team provides first responders at Surfside condo collapse with mental health support

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A team from the University of Central Florida was deployed to Surfside to make sure first responders were OK.

Deborah Beidel said she won’t forget seeing the Surfside condo collapse up close.

“When we walked up there, what we were seeing was just how high the rubble really was, and the big chunks of concrete,” she said.

READ: Surfside condo collapse: Death toll rises to 54; search shifts from rescue to recovery

Beidel is the executive director of UCF Restores, a team formed to bring first responders in disasters mental health support.

However, she said this was on a different scale for emergency responders from across Florida.

“For many of them, they’ve never had to deal with an event like this before,” Beidel said.

READ: Surfside condo collapse: Death toll rises to 46

UCF Restores said they’re not done. They’re now working on next steps to help those first responders.

They’ll have follow-up points, at different times, to check in on them and give them the chance to if they need to. Some people will immediately need help, and others will wait a while.

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.