BATON ROUGE — Gov. John Bel Edwards authorized more than one hundred Louisiana emergency personnel to deploy to the Carolinas on September 11, 2018 as part of four teams to help with Hurricane Florence support missions. The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) coordinated the assistance through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) system. EMAC offers assistance during governor-declared states of emergency or disasters through a responsive, straightforward system that allows states to send personnel, equipment, and commodities to assist with response and recovery efforts in other states.
“Louisiana has had to rely on the assistance of our neighboring states more often than we’d like, so when we have the opportunity to assist in storm preparations, we are happy to do so,” said Gov. Edwards. “We are in the heart of hurricane season. The assets we are deploying to the Carolinas in no way jeopardizes our ability to respond should we face severe weather in Louisiana. As our friends on the East Coast deal with the impact of Hurricane Florence, our prayers are with them, and we stand ready to provide further assistance in the storm’s aftermath.”
The teams deployed include a four person, emergency operations center support team from the New Orleans Fire Department assisting North Carolina. The Louisiana Office of the State Fire Marshal provided a swift water rescue team and an urban search and rescue team to South Carolina. There are 36 personnel on each team. The office also provided an 18 person, incident support team. The teams arrived in the region Tuesday evening.
Current EMAC deployments for Hurricane Florence as of 9/14/18
Total personnel deployed – 112
GOHSEP – 1 person PIO – North Carolina
New Orleans Fire Department – 4 Person EOC Overhead Team – North Carolina
State Fire Marshal (SFM)
SFM – 36 Person Urban Search and Rescue Team – South Carolina
SFM – 35 Person Incident Support Team – South Carolina
SFM – 36 Person Swift Water Rescue Team – South Carolina
Requests Governor's Office are trying to help fill
30 - Public Health Shelter Support Team – Virginia
2 – 30 Person – Health Services Shelter Team – Virginia
3 - Functional Support Teams - provide assessment and support services for people with access and functional needs – North Carolina
100 - Mental Health Workers – North Carolina
1 - Deputy Volunteer Agency Liaison with VOAD – South Carolina
8 – UH-60 Aircraft – Helicopter and Aquatic Rescue Team (HART) – South Carolina
1 – 5 person - Damage Assessment Team – South Carolina
1 – State Environmental Agency PIO – South Carolina
“In addition to the teams currently being deployed, other state agencies are also working to fill additional requests from states in Florence’s path. Louisiana is often called upon to help other states during an emergency because of our experience in dealing with disasters and because of our ability to efficiently manage EMAC requests,” said GOHSEP Director Jim Waskom. “We are monitoring several tropical threats as we reach the peak of hurricane season. We urge everyone to stay aware of these threats for any potential impact to Louisiana. Keep your emergency supply kits stocked and your emergency plans up to date.”
Louisiana State Fire Marshal Butch Browning added, “Louisiana has received an outpouring of assistance for our emergencies in the past. So the call to return the favor to South Carolina now is a very important one for us to answer. The State Fire Marshal’s Office is sending over rescue equipment along with personnel who are experts in the field with hundreds of hours of real-time disaster response experience. We hope to be as great an impact to our friends in South Carolina as others have been to us in our times of need.”
EMAC establishes a firm legal foundation for sharing resources between states. Once the conditions for providing assistance to a requesting state have been set, the terms constitute a legally binding agreement. The EMAC legislation solves the problems of liability and responsibilities of cost and allows for credentials, licenses, and certifications to be honored across state lines.
EMAC is implemented within the State Emergency Management Agency on behalf of the Governor of the State. This provides a consistent and coordinated response across the nation. Deploying resources through EMAC leverages federal grant dollars (such as the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP) and the Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) invested in state and local emergency management resource capabilities.