COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) -As of late Thursday morning, Tropical Storm Barry became the second named storm of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season and the State of South Carolina is sending personnel and volunteers to assist the State of Louisiana, as they prepare for the potential effects of Tropical Storm Barry.
The Louisiana State Fire Marshal has requested the deployment of an Advance Unit of the Palmetto Incident Support Team, which is an all-hazards incident management unit, specializing in the management and coordination of Search and Rescue. The team is a component of South Carolina State Fire, a Division of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.
The team will provide incident management support to the Louisiana Incident Support Team and will assist Louisiana with the statewide coordination of Search and Rescue, in response to the potential for structural damage and significant flooding.
The Palmetto Incident Support Team is composed primarily of employees of South Carolina State Fire, which consists of the Office of the State Fire Marshal, the South Carolina Fire Academy, and the South Carolina Emergency Response Task Force. Other team members are members of South Carolina Task Force 1, the State’s Urban Search and Rescue Team, and Firefighter Mobilization Coordinators.
The Advance Unit, initially deploying to Baton Rouge, will leave South Carolina at 7 a.m. Friday. Deploying are: State Fire Marshal Jonathan Jones, IST Manager Doug Spinks; Deputy Operations Section Chief Chad Beam; Planning Section Chief Bonita Watters; and Logistics/Finance Section Chief George Stapleton.
This is not the first time the team has worked with the Louisiana Incident Support Team. Louisiana’s team deployed to South Carolina during Hurricane Florence, and the two teams coordinated Search and Rescue efforts for 21 days. Additionally, Louisiana deployed boat teams and nearly 100 rescuers to South Carolina, during Hurricane Florence. Since then, the teams have been planning, training, and preparing, for the 2019 Hurricane Season – together.
“The State of Louisiana provided much-needed assistance and support to our State, during Hurricane Florence, and it’s time for South Carolina to return the favor,” State Fire Marshal Jones said.
Jones will serve as the Palmetto Incident Support Team Commander.
“Louisiana State Fire Marshal Butch Browning and I began putting plans in place to create a seamless integration of our two teams during their deployment to South Carolina.”
The team members will initially deploy for seven days, with the possibility of extending the mission for up to fifteen days, by rotating personnel.
Several disaster-volunteers from the Palmetto SC Region of the American Red Cross are also deploying to Louisiana as the potential for dangerous storm impacts to the Gulf States is rapidly increasing.
Six local volunteers from the Red Cross will deploy to Louisiana Thursday and Friday. One from the Red Cross of Eastern SC and five from the Red Cross of Lowcountry SC will be providing aid to Louisiana. The Red Cross expects to see additional South Carolina Red Cross disaster workers deploy in the coming days.