SPRINGFIELD – Governor Bruce Rauner announced Thursday that Illinois is prepared to provide personnel and other support to states that may be impacted by Hurricane Florence.
Ten Illinois Army National Guard soldiers and two helicopters have deployed to support relief efforts in North Carolina. The crews left from Peoria’s 238th Aviation Battalion and Kankakee’s 1st Battalion, 106th Aviation Regiment. They will provide support for up to 10 days. All costs associated with the deployment will be paid for by the Tar Heel state.
“We can never anticipate the scope of damage caused by these natural disasters and the impact they have on families,” Rauner said. “We are proud to send our soldiers in to assist with emergency rescue and to transport supplies in and out of the disaster areas.”
“This hurricane has the potential to be devastating,” said Maj. Gen. Richard Hayes Jr., the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard. “I am proud of our soldiers’ ability to quickly respond to the requests of our fellow Americans in North Carolina, and I am thankful for the support of our soldiers’ families and employers as they prepare for and execute this mission.”
Requests for assistance are coordinated through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), a mutual aid agreement that allows states to request assistance from other states during emergencies. Officials from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) have been in regular contact with EMAC representative this week and are currently reviewing the anticipated needs drafted by the states of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina.
“Illinois takes EMAC requests very seriously, and we always look to help when called upon,” said Acting IEMA Director William Robertson. “You never know when you may be on the receiving end of these request. EMAC allows states to help other states be safe, secure and resilient against all hazards. That’s the beauty of the partnership and collaboration behind EMAC.”
Illinois has answered the call to assist other states with large scale deployments of personnel and equipment over the years, demonstrating the state’s ability to respond to a major disaster, even when it’s thousands of miles away.
Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was the state’s largest EMAC response to date, with more than 2,500 Illinois responders deployed to the Gulf Coast, including guardsmen, firefighters, paramedics, state emergency managers, law enforcement officers and medical personnel. Most recently, the state deployed personnel from the Illinois National Guard to Puerto Rico to assist with recovery efforts on the island following Hurricane Maria.