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AFNORTH deploys EPLOs ahead of Hurricane Florence

Rodney Simmons, Air Forces Northern National Security Emergency Preparedness Director, receives a briefing about the status of Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers deployed ahead of Hurricane Florence landfall on the U.S. southeastern coast. Deploying EPLOs is one of the ways the Air Forces Northern enterprise assists U.S. Northern Command’s support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s response efforts for Hurricane Florence. (Air Force photo by Mary McHale)

Rodney Simmons, National Security Emergency Preparedness Director, Air Forces Northern, receives a briefing about the status of Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers deployed ahead of Hurricane Florence landfall on the U.S. southeastern coast. Deploying EPLOs is one of the ways the Air Forces Northern enterprise assists U.S. Northern Command’s support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s response efforts for Hurricane Florence. (Air Force photo by Mary McHale)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Air Forces Northern deployed more than 18 Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers to reinforce U.S. Northern Command’s support of Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hurricane Florence relief efforts along the U.S. southeastern coast.

Mostly Reservists from Department of Defense service components, EPLOs are assigned to each state and the 10 FEMA Regional Coordination Centers, and come from a wide range of career fields, including air operations, logistics, medicine, security forces, and public affairs.

The U.S. Air Force Reserve officers are subject matter experts about military capability options that may be of assistance to emergency-response officials in potentially affected geographic areas. During crisis response operations, these EPLOs help coordinate Air Force personnel and asset requirements between FEMA and the Air Force.

“These officers provide state emergency response officials significant knowledge and information about unique military capabilities available to assist officials during disaster-response operations,” said Rodney Simmons, National Security Emergency Preparedness Director, Air Forces Northern.

Ahead of Hurricane Florence, some of the deployed EPLOs are currently working in emergency operations centers in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia along with centers in several states that may be involved in support operations post hurricane landfall.