JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Mississippi is all too familiar with disaster response. That’s why various groups and agencies in the Magnolia State are preparing, right now, to respond to Hurricane Michael. Some are on standby, and others are starting the trip to Florida.
The state is sending two swift water rescue teams, made up of 42 team members total, to Florida. They’re scheduled to stay for two weeks and will be assisting with potential emergency response efforts. That comes as the answer to a request from Florida officials.
Meanwhile, one relief agency already has boots on the ground for other reasons. Some Red Cross leaders were in Florida for a Southeastern conference that was originally scheduled to start Tuesday. It has since been canceled.
“Several people from Mississippi have deployed to the areas that are in the path of Michael," said American Red Cross regional communications director Tamica Smith Jeuitt. "Some of us are here in the airport, trying to get back to Mississippi ahead of the storm.”
There will be local coordination for post-disaster crews who may get sent into impacted areas.
“Mississippi workers are now on standby," she added. "Just for safety reasons, we’re not moving people into those areas.”
Over at the Salvation Army, some of their regional division crews are just returning from deployments to the Carolina’s for Hurricane Florence response.
“They have all been pulled back as of yesterday so they are all headed back here that whatever happens in this division, we will be able to address it locally," said Michelle Hartfield with the Salvation Army Jackson. "We have one four person incident management team that has been requested to head to Florida to just be prepared there. But aside from that, everyone’s just going to be pulled in.”
Southern Pine Electric is also putting crews on standby but they are planning to send 19 of its employees to the Florida panhandle Thursday.