SPRINGFIELD – As the Gulf Coast recovers from Hurricane Gustav and braces for another dangerous hurricane later this week, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced Illinois is continuing its support to the region by deploying a six-person Incident Management Team to Louisiana. The team, which includes response personnel from public safety agencies throughout Illinois, is leaving today for a 22-day mission to help Louisiana recover from Hurricane Gustav.
“I am very proud of the emergency response personnel in Illinois who are so willing to help others in their time of need,” said Governor Blagojevich. “Nearly 200 responders have already answered the call for assistance, and many more are ready to go if their help is needed.”
The Incident Management Team was requested by the State of Louisiana through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), a mutual aid agreement, signed by all 50 states, that facilitates states assisting other states during emergencies. Officials from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) have been in continual contact with EMAC for the past two weeks to determine how Illinois can assist. IEMA was notified Tuesday that its offer of the Incident Management Team had been approved by Louisiana.
During the mission, the Illinois team members will assume planning, logistics, accountability and other incident management responsibilities for all out-of-state assets deployed to the affected areas of Louisiana
“The Incident Management Team brings together professionals from law enforcement, fire services and emergency management for comprehensive incident management,” said Captain Lindsey May of the Galesburg Police Department and chairman of the Illinois Incident Management Team. “It’s very rewarding to work side-by-side with the other response disciplines to provide needed assistance to communities during a disaster.”
The six-member Incident Management Team being deployed to Louisiana today includes personnel from the Illinois State Police, Edwardsville Fire Department, Woodstock Fire/Rescue, Charleston Fire Department, Quincy Fire Department and Eastern Illinois University Environmental Health and Safety.
“Illinois’ Incident Management Teams have the training and experience that enables them to assist during any type of emergency,” said IEMA Director Andrew Velasquez III. “The teams played a critical role in our response to both the tragic shootings at Northern Illinois University and historic flooding along the Mississippi River this year, and are an important part of the state’s overall response capabilities.”
The Governor already has deployed the following Illinois assets to assist with Hurricane Gustav response and recovery:
- Three Illinois National Guard helicopters and their crews to Louisiana to assist with search and rescue missions, air movement of critical supplies, evacuation missions and sand-bagging of levee breaches. The helicopters and crews completed their mission and have returned to Illinois.
- 150 firefighters, fire trucks and fire-fighting equipment
- 11 Illinois Air National Guard airmen and a satellite communications system.
In 2005, Governor Blagojevich directed the deployment of more than 2,500 Illinois responders to the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina, including nearly 1,000 firefighters, paramedics and essential fire support equipment; more than 1,100 Illinois National Guard troops; more than 300 local, county and state law enforcement officers, a 50-member Illinois Medical Emergency Response Team; more than 30 local and state emergency managers; and more than 100 state employees and vital telecommunications equipment.