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AFNORTH liaisons deploy for wildfire relief efforts

  • Published
Air Forces Northern deployed nine Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers, or EPLOs, as early as Monday to various parts of the Western United States to aid in Southern California Wildfire relief efforts.

These officers, requested by FEMA and approved by the Secretary of Defense, stand ready to coordinate military-unique assets for rescue, relief and recovery efforts if requested. They provide sourcing and coordination of Air Force assets and work closely with all branches of the U.S. military and civil authorities if in the event of a natural or manmade disaster.

AFNORTH EPLOs deployed to California Department of Forestry Southern Region in Riverside; March Air Reserve Base; Pasadena; and Sacramento, Calif.; Boise, Idaho; FEMA National Regional Coordination Center in Washington D.C.; and AFNORTH National Security Emergency Preparedness Operations Cell at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.

"At a moment's notice, Air Force EPLOs are ready and prepared to deploy to provide defense support to civil authorities," said Col. Gary Brand, Director, AFNORTH National Security Emergency Preparedness Directorate. "We already have EPLOs in place to offer military solutions and capabilities to local, state and federal customers," said Brand.

EPLOs help coordinate and facilitate the use of USAF military personnel, equipment and supplies in support of a lead federal agency and work predominately with a designated Defense Coordinating Officer. They provide behind-the-scene or front-line support and are the AFNORTH National Security Emergency Preparedness Directorate's conduit to bringing Air Force capabilities to any relief effort.

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

During Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Air Force deployed 67 EPLOs to18 local, state and federal agencies and throughout affected areas.

For more information contact AFNORTH Public Affairs at 850-283-8657.