Police, Fire, Public Works personnel, equipment made available
Less than 24 hours after Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle, personnel from the City of St. Augustine's Fire, Police and Public Works Department were preparing to assemble crews to travel to areas of the disaster to offer assistance.
The call for assistance came via FLAWARN, a statewide emergency alert system. The "bulletin board" system, is used to call for aid from all members throughout Florida when emergencies happen, and in this case, when disaster strikes.
In order to maintain order and have needs met efficiently, participating entities make it known through the system what types of assistance they can offer, such the number of personnel, their skill sets, and what types of equipment are available. Then as needs are identified, assignments are made and crews sent when and where they are needed. Some teams may be dispatched immediately, others in the coming days or weeks.
It is important to note that due to the extent of damage caused by Hurricane Michael across the Panhandle, all volunteer units responding with mutual aid assistance must be self-sustaining, which includes providing their own food, water, and housing for all personnel deployed.
|St. Augustine Police Department personnel prepare supplies and vehicles for departure from St. Augustine on Thursday, October 11, 2018|
Yesterday the St. Augustine Police Department (SAPD) dispatched six law enforcement officers as part of a Patrol Strike Team along with St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and the St. Augustine Beach Police Department. They were equipped with them 2 marked Tahoes, an enclosed trailer, an RV provided by Ocean Grove RV Resort, one all-terrain vehicle (ATV Gator), and 1 four-wheel-drive truck.
The officers who volunteered to dispatch for this mutual aid relief effort are Sgt. Brian Frasca, Sgt. Rich Warner, Ofc. Brittney Garmon, Ofc. Jonathan Brown, Ofc. Frankie Shipp, and Ofc. Kasey Keen. Next week, SAPD will send two additional dispatch operators, who have not yet been determined.
SAFD Engineer Joshua McKenzie inspects Engine 44 and a chainsaw in preparation for deployment to
The St. Augustine Fire Department will be sending Engine 44 with a crew of three: LT Brandon Seymour, Engineer Joshua McKenzie, and Firefighter Chris Chester. They will serve as part of a Strike Team of engines providing fire suppression assistance alongside St. Johns County Fire Rescue and other departments from the region.
|Public Works personnel gather on Thursday, October 11, to prepare equipment like this pump (left) and generator (right) to take with them when they deploy|
Eight Public Works Department personnel will deploy to assist with repairing and re-establishing water and wastewater services, taking generators, mobile pumps, utility trucks, a utility crane truck, and other equipment necessary to provide support. Ocean Grove RV Resort also provided an RV for the Public Works volunteers. Those volunteering to help include Utility Field Operations Manager Wade Giddens, Transmission & Distribution Foreman Scott Gessel, Transmission & Distribution Pipelayer Josh Fixl, Transmission & Distribution Utility Worker Joe Marcano, Wastewater Collections Supervisor Danny Hodges, Wastewater Collections Foreman Sean Burski, Wastewater Collections Equipment Operator Damon Ratterree, and Wastewater Collections General Maintenance Jackson Bolin.
“St. Augustine has been the beneficiary of aid from other communities following Hurricanes Matthew and Irma, and this is our opportunity to give back to our neighbors in need,” said City Manager John Regan reflecting on the importance of stepping forward in the mutual aid effort. “They are facing weeks, months, if not years of recovery, and this is how we can demonstrate that they are not alone in the long road ahead.”