California Deploys Emergency Management Team to South Carolina, Virginia to Assist with Hurricane Response, Recovery

Emergency and incident management specialists from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) have been deployed to South Carolina and Virginia to assist with emergency response efforts for Hurricane Florence.

During the two-week deployment, California personnel will use their specialized emergency management operations skills to help officials as they respond to the impacts of Hurricane Florence, which is expected to make landfall late Thursday or early Friday. Specifically, this deployment is for two separate teams of different specialties.

First, the eight-person Cal OES Incident Support Team, which has extensive emergency operations experience and have been involved in response and recovery efforts for several major disasters in California including wildfires, flooding, winter storms, the Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway Incident, earthquakes and drought, will depart Thursday from Sacramento for the Emergency Operations Center in South Carolina. Primary duties include the support of Logistics and Points of Distribution (POD) coordination in Columbia, S.C. at the State Emergency Operations Center.

The second deployment is a 16-member Incident Management Team (Type III, All-Hazards Incident Management). These team members are from Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Santa Maria Fire Department, Montecito Fire Department, Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Department and Vandenberg Air Force Base Fire Department. The IMT-III team will be heading for North Chesterfield, V.A. to assist emergency management and first responders with the possibly widespread impacts of Hurricane Florence.

“This is another example of the nation’s mutual aid network working as it is intended during a time when the skills of these personnel are needed the most,” said Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci. “As Hurricane Florence approaches, we are happy to assist our east coast partners while doing our part in saving lives and property.”

Both the IST and IMT-III teams were coordinated by Cal OES via the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, or EMAC, system. This is a national system for emergency management, public safety, law enforcement and firefighting mutual aid across state lines.

Hurricane Florence is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and significant rainfall to portions of the Carolinas and mid-Atlantic states.

Previously, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. approved the deployment of five water rescue elements California Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Task Forces through Cal OES. These new resources and personnel will aid in the response to Hurricane Florence, headed for the Atlantic Coast. This is the fifth time in weeks that California Urban Search & Rescue Task Forces have been dispatched to hurricanes, including to the Hawaiian islands twice in the past month to Hurricane Lane and Hurricane Olivia.

Cal OES continues to monitor operations on the East Coast and requests for additional EMAC assistance. EMAC, which includes the participation of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, is a nationally recognized mutual-aid system that provides the foundation for states to request and send resources across their borders when impacted by a disaster.

For more information, follow these links: EMACNational Weather Service and Cal OES newsroom.


Jonathan Gudel

Jonathan Gudel is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). Since joining Cal OES, he has assisted in the response and recovery efforts of the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, the state's historic drought, the Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway Incident, unprecedented winter storms in 2017, the October (Sonoma County) and December (Santa Barbara County) 2017 wildfires, and statewide wildfire siege in 2018 . Previously, he worked in the newspaper industry for 12 years.

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