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Louisville, Jefferson County first responders assisting in recovery efforts in Western Kentucky

The Jefferson County Fire Department initially sent 25 firefighters to Mayfield, and now is planning to switch new crews in and out every three days.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Fire departments from Louisville continue to assist in Mayfield search and recovery efforts. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has made it clear the city could use all the help it can get.

Dozens of first responders from Jefferson County have taken the call to action, rotating crews to Western Kentucky -- not just for storm recovery, but to make sure everyday emergency services there don't fall behind.

"We had people chomping at the bit to go down there," said Jordan Yuodis, spokesperson for the Jefferson County Fire Department.

Louisville was spared when tornadoes wreaked havoc on Kentucky's western and southwestern regions. So, when given the all clear to travel, first responders in Louisville wasted no time to head that way.

For 72 hours already, Louisville Metro Emergency Services and others have been aiding in search and rescue efforts and cleanup, all while barely sleeping.

You can see in photos posted on social media, the enormous tasks at hand. The Metro and County's fire officials, right alongside.

"It's the largest disaster most will see in their lifetimes, especially for the first responders in most cases," Yuodis said.

Yuodis gave WHAS 11 perspective. Jefferson County initially sending 25 firefighters, and now planning to switch new crews in and out every three days -- 20 at a time.

How to help Western Kentucky families

"Providing fire protection to the city because just like any other time, other incidents can still occur in the midst of a natural disaster," Yuodis said.

RELATED: How to help Western Kentucky families following historic tornado outbreak

Also reacting swiftly, Louisville's Fire Department. The primary focus for it also has been Mayfield, suffering some of the most destruction -- rubble stacked for miles, and local EMS needing as many extra hands as it can get.

Upon the department's return, Maj. Bobby Cooper said a team of ten assisted in the recovery of the eight victims in the factory collapse. He said volunteers played a huge role in the effort.

"It makes you realize we're all in this together, and we're all a team," Maj. Cooper said. "As tragic as the incident is, we'll keep working together to get through it."

PRP Fire responded directly to the candle factory, sending nine members Saturday, including the fire chief himself -- still there each day and night so far.

"We want to make sure their citizens have the same protections that they had before the tornado struck their town," Bowman said.

So, as Louisville watches over its own Monday night, it's also answering the calls nearly 200 miles away where recovery requires all hands on deck.

"And still to this hour, there are folks asking, 'How do I go? What can I do to help?'" Yuodis said.

Jefferson County Fire officials tell WHAS 11 that crews will continue to rotate through Christmas Day, and even weeks after that if and when needed. 

Contact reporter Isaiah Kim-Martinez at IKimMartin@whas11.com or on Facebook or Twitter 

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