Missouri is sending help to the southeastern part of the United States as Hurricane Matthew continues to damage coastal states.
According to a press release from the Boone County Fire Protection District, FEMA activated Missouri Task Force 1 Thursday evening to aid in relief efforts. Missouri Task Force 1 is an urban search and rescue team trained in everything from large building collapse searches to water rescues. The task force is bringing more than 40 personnel and 100,000 pounds of gear to help the affected states.
Dobbins Air Force Base in Marietta, Georgia will be used as a forward staging location where the task force will await further assignment. The Missouri task force was activated because it is one of the ten closest task forces to Georgia, North and South Carolina and Florida. It is expected to arrive at the base around 3 p.m. local time Friday.
“Whatever that task may be, the men and women on Missouri Task Force 1 are the best of the best and very highly qualified and highly trained individuals,” said Assistant Boone County Fire Chief Gale Blomenkamp.
Governor Nixon also announced today that Missouri will be sending an environmental debris specialist to help with the removal of any debris containing hazardous material.
In a press release, Nixon sympathized with the people of Florida citing the variety of natural disasters that have affected Missourians. He also stressed the state’s willingness to provide aid to those in need.
“The people of Missouri have lent a hand to our fellow Americans on many occasions before and we are gladly doing so again to help the people of Florida,” he said.
The environmental debris specialist is will be headed to Florida next week. Additional offers for help have been extended by the state and may be sent to the area depending on the path of Hurricane Matthew.
Reuters is reporting more than eight-hundred people in Haiti and three in Florida have died as a result of the storm.