CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — More than a thousand soldiers, airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force will be prepared to respond and assist with safety and rescue operations for Hurricane Florence.
Up to 1,500 Virginia National Guard members have been put on “state active duty” amid concerns of potential damage that the hurricane may bring.
Governor Ralph Northam, who ordered the evacuation of the Eastern Shore and Hampton Roads on Monday, also authorized putting up to 6,000 personnel on standby for response operations during the storm.
The National Guard will take part in various missions during Hurricane Florence: debris reduction, commodity distribution, high water transportation, rotary wing aviation search and rescue and shelter management assistance.
In a news release sent to 8News, the National Guard announced that “readiness centers” will be located in key areas throughout Virginia. These centers are meant to allow emergency crews and personnel to quickly respond to people in need.
“The key to being able to rapidly respond is staging personnel and resources in strategic locations before the severe weather hits so they can quickly respond to assist communities if they are impacted by the severe weather from Hurricane Florence,” explained Brig. Gen. James Ring, Virginia National Guard director of the joint the staff.
This is not the first time the Virginia National Guard have been mobilized to respond to potential natural disasters.
Since 2014, roughly 2,570 National Guard personnel have been put on state active duty to respond to hurricanes and other storms in Virginia.