Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that 50 Airmen from the 106th Rescue Wing of the New York Air National Guard are assembling at Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach to assist in the response to Hurricane Florence, which is forecast to impact North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia beginning late tonight with tropical force winds reaching 73 miles per hour. The team from 106th Rescue Wing will travel to Dover Air Force Base and some elements will depart from the base as early as this afternoon.
“New York knows first-hand the devastation that extreme weather can leave behind, and we stand ready to help those who are in the path of Hurricane Florence in any way we can,” Governor Cuomo said, adding, “New Yorkers always help their neighbors in their time of need and just as we have stood shoulder to shoulder with Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida after last year’s destructive storms, we will once again stand ready to lend a hand to our fellow Americans.”
Additionally, the New York Army National Guard is ready to deploy two CH-47 Chinook heavy lift helicopters and two UH-60 Blackhawk medical evacuation helicopters to assist in storm response efforts. The CH-47 is a large double rotor helicopter which can carry up to 9.5 tons of cargo or up to 30 people. The UH-60 aircraft are equipped with hoists and could be used for rescues as well as carrying medical patients. The helicopters would all come out of our Army Aviation Support Facility at Rochester International Airport and are on standby waiting for deployment orders.
State Assets Ready for Deployment
New York State’s stockpiles are well equipped, prepared and ready for deployment to impacted states with over 1.8 million sandbags, nearly 700 generators, over 1,250 pumps, over 4,000 flashlights, over 438,000 cans and bottles of water, over 500 chainsaws, over 200 light towers, over 28,500 ready to eat meals and thousands of cots, blankets and pillows.
New York’s Urban Search and Rescue team also stands at the ready with personnel and equipment. NY Task Force 2 (NYTF-2), is a specialized team of first responders and equipment skilled in structural collapse rescue, excavation emergencies, technical rope rescues, confined space rescue, and other specialized rescues. Additionally, the state’s incident management team is also ready to assist with response and recovery efforts including command and control, planning, logistics and administration activities, operational coordination, obtaining situational information and reporting, incident action planning, GIS mapping, and logistical support for ongoing response operations.
The State Department of Transportation stands ready to assist states impacted by Hurricane Florence with traffic signal crews, tree clearing crews, and other assets ready for deployment to assist these states as needed. These activities may encompass road clearing and assistance with power outages at traffic signals. The Department currently has 14 tree crew bucket trucks, 76 wood chippers, and 56 traffic signal trucks available.
Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Food Production Center in Rome, NY is ready to provide thousands of pre-assembled lunches for communities hard hit by Hurricane Florence.
While initial request for utility crews has been satisfied in locations closer to the potential impact area, New York Power Authority crews are ready and will coordinate any further mutual aid requests with New York’s utilities, which are fully participating in the mutual aid protocols.
New York has a long history of helping other states following natural disasters. In addition to sending similar assistance to Florida following Hurricanes Irma, Harvey, Maria, Matthew, Frances, Ivan and Dennis, New York dispatched a multi-agency team of more than 300 individuals to assist Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina, as well as another 18-member team after Hurricane Gustav. Additionally, New York has sent crews of firefighters west many times to assist with containing wildfires.