Alabama National Guard ready to help with Hurricane Florence response on the east coast
Governor Kay Ivey has the Alabama National Guard on standby to assist with response efforts to Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas and said Alabama is sending additional state personnel and resources to assist.
While the National Guard is ready to roll out when called upon, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) has already been officially activated to help. Before knowing the extent of what else will be needed, they have already committed to providing a mobile communications unit to bolster public safety radio communications.
Since 2011, Alabama’s National Guard – which is the fifth largest in the country – has been activated 23 times and they will be ready to assist this time if needed.
“The National Guard also cooperate across state lines, so for Hurricane Florence, the Alabama National Guard has already been in communication with the national guard in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia,” Director of Military Support Col. Jim Hawkins said, per CBS 42.
The Yellowhammer State understands more than most the importance of helping neighbors in need.
“If you go back to Hurricane Katrina, practically every state in the United States sent assistance to either Mississippi or Louisiana, after that they formed what’s called the Emergency Management Assistance Compact,” Hawkins explained.
He also outlined what a typical National Guard response to a hurricane entails.
“It could be things like high water evacuations. Security is always important, when people are displaced and property is damaged, maintaining security and assisting law-enforcement is critical,” Hawkins advised.
Ivey emphasized that Alabama is ready and willing to help.
“As the East Coast makes preparations ahead of Hurricane Florence, Alabama will also be prepared to aid in any way we can. I spoke with the governors of North and South Carolina and offered our support,” Ivey remarked in a statement. “Alabama EMA will continue working with their counterparts in the Carolinas. Taking the necessary precautions ahead of time and having all-hands-on-deck to respond is of the utmost importance. Alabama stands ready to help.”
Currently, AEMA’s mobile communications unity, one AEMA staff member and one Mobile County responder are at a staging area in North Carolina. They will support that state in maintaining critical communication links for public safety radio communications and their primary role will be to support their counterparts as they experience an overwhelming need to coordinate North Carolina’s response efforts.
“We are leaning forward to support those states that may be impacted by Hurricane Florence,” AEMA Director Brian Hastings said. “We are a close-knit team in FEMA Region IV, and when one state is threatened, we all stand ready to assist our incredible neighbors to prepare, respond and recover to save lives and mitigate human suffering. Alabama is always ready to assist when there is a need.”
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn