CHICAGO – August 27, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today deployed personnel from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the Illinois National Guard to New York State to help with preparations for Hurricane Irene. Governor Quinn said Illinois stands ready to provide additional assistance to any East Coast states in the path of the massive storm.
“Hurricane Irene is a serious threat to millions of people along the East Coast, and we’re prepared to provide assistance wherever needed,” Governor Quinn said. “Illinois has one of the most robust emergency management programs in the nation, including a mutual aid system that is unmatched. We stand ready to help protect the residents of other states by deploying our assets and personnel anywhere in the U.S. when needed.“
Three regional coordinators from IEMA are being deployed in response to a request from the state of New York through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), a nationwide system through which states affected by disasters can receive additional resources. As part of the agreement, New York will reimburse Illinois for expenses related to this deployment. IEMA personnel deployed from Champaign early today and will arrive in Westchester County, New York this evening for a two-week assignment. They will work with the 24/7 planning section on developing plans to address hurricane response and recovery issues.
“We will continue to work closely with the Emergency Management Assistance Compact and affected states throughout the weekend on any additional requests for assistance,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken.
The Illinois National Guard will preposition approximately 160 troops along the eastern seaboard this weekend. The contingent includes six UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters, pilots and crew, ground support vehicles and operators, and command and control staff. The Illinois National Guard elements will depart from their respective unit locations in Illinois in two stages on Saturday and Sunday. An additional 1,000 Illinois National Guard troops from throughout the state are reporting to their units today (Saturday) in preparation for Hurricane Irene support.
“Time and time again, our Soldiers are ready, willing and able to join the effort to protect our fellow Americans during a natural disaster,” said Maj. Gen. William L. Enyart the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard. “This year alone we’ve assisted with the severe winter storm in early February and flood relief efforts in southern Illinois and South Dakota this spring. I am extremely proud to lead these dedicated men and women.”
Illinois has stepped up to help other states by providing personnel and resources on several occasions, including sending more than 2,500 responders to Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina. The IEMA contingent being deployed today includes two members who assisted in Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina, one as part of an IEMA team and one with the American Red Cross.