TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
As Hurricane Matthew churns its way toward southern Florida with a path leading it up the eastern coast towards South Carolina, Air Forces Northern (AFNORTH) deployed Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers to numerous emergency operations center and the Civil Air Patrol began conducting assessment flights in support of civil authorities.
“FEMA has requested DoD support to provide Air Force emergency planners and Civil Air Patrol for imagery support and other capabilities,” said Lt. Gen. Scott Williams, Commander, 1 AF (Air Forces Northern). “We bring a wealth of military capabilities and experience to save lives, reduce suffering and minimize property damage.”
Distinctive Air Force support missions during DSCA include air transport, search and rescue, medical evacuation -- MEDEVAC, incident awareness and disaster assessment through imagery and full motion video, airspace safety and control, and emergency preparedness liaison officers (EPLOS).
“Our EPLOs work closely with civil authorities to identify possible support from AFNORTH’s full range of air, space and information capabilities in North America, as requested, to protect and assist our citizens,” Rod Simmons, Air Force National Security Emergency Preparedness Director. “Although it has been a little more than a decade since a major storm has hit this region, we train annually to ensure we’re ready to support civil authorities, if requested.”
As of Oct. 6, AFNORTH deployed 15 EPLOs to Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, to work with local, state and other federal emergency responders at emergency operations centers and other coordination centers to ensure the right Air Force capabilities are where they’re needed, when they’re needed.
AFNORTH activated its contingency action team Thursday bringing together functional experts to monitor the storm and anticipate possible support efforts that would be needed depending on where the storm made landfall.