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Mass. National Guard soldiers deploy to FL to assist with Irma

A houses is surrounded by water as Hurricane Irma passes through Naples, Fla., Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is coordinating the deployment of a 12 person Incident Management Team and an 18 person Massachusetts National Guard public affairs team to Florida to assist with response and recovery efforts for Hurricane Irma.

The requests for assistance from Florida came through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), which is the national emergency management mutual aid system that facilitates state-to-state disaster assistance.

The 12 person Northwest Massachusetts Incident Management Team (IMT) will support response operations, with a focus on supporting search and rescue, water rescue, logistics/resource needs, and coordinating with a Federal Urban Search and Rescue Task Force that is operating in the area.

The team will depart Massachusetts on Monday, September 11th, and is expected to be deployed for approximately two weeks.

The 18 person Massachusetts National Guard public affairs team is part of the Guard’s 65th Press Camp Headquarters.

In Florida, the unit will handle public affairs for the National Guard Joint Task Force Jupiter, including command and control of all public affairs assets, running a media operations center, processing media requests, and providing media escorts in the field. The team will depart Massachusetts by Tuesday, September 12th, and is expected to be deployed for up to 30 days.

These deployments are in addition to the deployments of a three-person emergency operations center (EOC) support team and a nine-person nursing team announced on Sunday, September 10th.

MEMA continues to monitor the EMAC system and look for opportunities to offer personnel, equipment and resources to Florida and other areas impacted by Hurricane Irma.

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