POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – As a crisis unfolds in southwest Florida, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office will be part of the emergency response.

“They would come to us if the roles were reversed just as quickly as we’re going to them,” said Polk County Sheriff Judd.

The sheriff deployed his Emergency Self-Contained Rescue Team Thursday afternoon to Lee County, one of many law enforcement agencies pitching in in the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Ian.

Sheriff Judd sent his team off with a pep talk.

“What you’re doing is much bigger than any one of us. It’s much bigger than all of us together,” he told the nearly three dozen deputies who volunteered to go.

He also said a prayer.

“I ask a special blessing upon each and every one of these deputies,” said Sheriff Judd.

The sheriff said resources will still be available for Polk County’s own response, with areas toward the south of the county inundated with high winds and rain.

“This county has damage. It has high water. It does not have total devastation like we’ve seen in Lee County and Charlotte County,” said the sheriff.

The resources deployed include a command center, boats, personal amenities and a communication center so the team can be completely self-contained.

“There’s a conference room in the back [of the communication center]. We have satellite downlinks so even if we go into an area that doesn’t have service, we put our satellite downlink up and then we have service just like we would at the main office,” said Lt. Paul Wright, with special operations at the sheriff’s office.

The team will assist other agencies in the state with rescues and police services.

It was not known where precisely in Lee County they would be sent as of Thursday afternoon.

“I want to help not only my community here in Polk County but my surrounding communities as well,” said Detective Michael Branch, who is deploying.

The sheriff said he believes these times of crisis and showings of support represent the “real America.”

“I want those folks in Fort Myers, Charlotte County and any other area of devastation to know theyre not in this alone. We’re there with them,” said the sheriff.

The Polk County team will work 12 hour shifts for over a week before being relieved by another set of volunteers.