National Guard, local officials head to Florida
Unique conditions created by Hurricane Irma spark an uncommon response to try to expedite relief efforts. The military is transporting non-federal civilian emergency responders from Harrison County to disaster affected Florida.
Today, a team from the Harrison County Emergency Management Agency boarded a C-130 at the CRTC Battlefield Airmen Center headed for the Florida Keys. Because of poor road and bridge conditions, a flight is the only option for reaching Monroe County.
EMA Director Rupert Lacy says the military granted permission for the Connecticut State National Guard to transport local first responders and their equipment due to it being a critical mission.
Several state National Guards also began making flights between Gulfport and Florida today. They staged planes at the base over the weekend because of its proximity to the storm affected area. Technical Sgt. Drew Ready said, “Here at the CRTC, we are located down here on the South Coast. We were out of the storm’s path enough that we knew that it would be clear weather here so they could stage here when the hurricane hit. This allowed them to basically get as close as possible to go ahead and have their aircraft here for to be safe for them to have a quick response time whenever they needed to go down to Florida to the Keys.”
Harrison County Emergency Management officials are scheduled to be in the Florida Keys for about 14 days doing needs assessments and relieving emergency officials there.