Hogan Sending National Guard to Help Puerto Rico

Twenty-six members of the Maryland National Guard’s 29th Combat Aviation Brigade will be sent to Puerto Rico to help the island rebuild after Hurricane Maria, a statement from Gov. Larry Hogan’s office said Friday.

The brigade will be assigned to water purification, using systems that can convert in one hour about 1,200 gallons of hazardous water into water that is safe for drinking, cooking, and hygiene. Fresh water has been in critically short supply in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria made landfall on Sept. 20.

The deployment could last as long as 60 days, according to Hogan’s statement. The statement says Hogan spoke with Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello and other staff-level officials communicated.

“During my conversation with Gov. Rossello, I offered the full support of the State of Maryland to Puerto Rico and all areas devastated by these recent storms,” Hogan said. “Maryland is fortunate to have been spared the worst effects of this hurricane season so far, and we stand ready to respond to those in desperate need of resources.”

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency leads the state’s coordination of resource support through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, which allows for states and territories to share resources during and after disasters.

“The emergency management system in Maryland is filled with local, state, private and non-governmental partners dedicated to ensuring the safety and resiliency of Maryland citizens. They also stand ready to support our sister states and territories in times of need,” Executive Director Russell Strickland said. “MEMA will continue to coordinate requests for assistance in response to and recovery from disasters.”

Maryland has a mission deployed to Florida supporting response and recovery operations. Twenty-two members of the Maryland Incident Management Team have been managing four separate base camps in Florida that house and feed responding personnel. The assisting IMT members are from Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s and Washington counties, as well as the City of Baltimore and the Town of Ocean City.

Maryland has recently completed five support missions in Texas and Florida after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, respectively. These include:

  • The Maryland Department of Human Services sent staff to support disaster sheltering in the Houston, Texas area. The human service workers provided shelter set up, logistical support, and additional disaster services.
  • Howard County Recreation and Parks sent a debris clearing and removal team to Southern Florida in order to assist the opening of roadways.
  • The Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems and MEMA coordinated the deployment of a critical incident stress management team. The CISM team, who are from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service and Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services, supported shelter workers and first responders in southwest Florida and the Florida Keys.
  • The Maryland Energy Administration supported the Florida Department of Emergency Management’s energy infrastructure fuels support team. MEA organized fuel delivery to gas stations, fueling depots, emergency generators, and critical infrastructure.
  • The Howard County Office of Emergency Management conducted volunteer and donations management assistance in the Florida State Emergency Operations Center.


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