Florida National Guard activated as hurricane Idalia approaches

Florida National Guard soldiers prepare for post-Hurricane Idalia search-and-rescue missions in Tallahassee, Fla., Aug. 29. Photo by Army Spc. Christian Wilson

Hurricane Idalia reached Florida’s west coast Aug. 30.

Idalia “may bring a life-threatening storm surge to portions of the Florida Gulf Coast, as well as strong winds and significant flooding across Southeastern states,” according to a Federal Emergency Management Agency report posted to its website on Aug. 29.

FEMA is closely coordinating with affected states and stands ready to provide support. FEMA Incident Management Assistance Teams are deployed to affected areas to provide support as needed and additional supplies and teams are on standby, according to the report.

The Florida National Guard has been fully activated with a mobilization of over 3,000 guardsmen in position across the state for preparedness and response efforts, and an additional 1,800 guardsmen are on their way to the state, said Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh, who held a news conference on Aug. 29.

“This is a storm that we are certainly taking seriously, the state of Florida is taking seriously, in terms of not only making sure that we have the appropriate number of people in the state of Florida to help with any response that’s needed but also prepositioning any assets or any forces that might be needed in the aftermath of the storm,” Singh said.

Army Sgt. Haley Riley, an avenger crewmember with 1-265th Air Defense Artillery Battalion, secures a light medium tactical vehicle in preparation for Hurricane Idalia, in Florida, Aug. 29. Courtesy photo

Singh also provided an update to the relief efforts in the aftermath of the western Maui wildfire.

As of Aug. 29, approximately 580 National Guardsmen, 133 additional Defense Department personnel and 119 Coast Guardsmen are actively engaged in the coordinated response, she said.

U.S. Army Pacific is executing mission assignments from FEMA. The most recent mission assignment is potable water distribution support, she said.

Navy mobile diving salvage unit teams from Pacific Fleet concluded their dive operations on Aug. 28. Joint Task Force 5-0 continues search and rescue activities with the Hawaii National Guard teams, the FBI and the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, Singh said.

Hawaii National Guard continues round-the-clock support of local law enforcement. The 25th Infantry Division’s fueling trucks distributed about 470 gallons of fuel over the past 48 hours in support of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ temporary power operations, she said.

Pacific Fleet’s Navy Environ-mental Preventive Medicine Unit Six deployed two sailors to Maui on Aug. 29 in support of potable water testing for the task force’s water distribution mission, Singh said.