Missoula response team on stand-by for Hurricane Michael - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Missoula response team on stand-by for Hurricane Michael

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Emergency responders in Montana are prepared to answer the call for Hurricane Michael relief efforts.

President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency in Georgia, as s result of the damage left behind by tropical storm Michael. The action allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate relief efforts. Emergency crews on the Gulf Coast have reached out for help, right in Big Sky country. 

The Office of Emergency Management in Missoula said in anticipation for Hurricane Michael, the state of Georgia sent a request to the Emergency Management Agency Compact, which is a national disaster-relief compact consisting of 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It essentially works as a mutual aid system, offering help when disaster strikes in one state, and returning the favor when an incident occurs in the other. 

Ken Parks who works as the Deputy Director at OEM said his office had written a contract to the state of Georgia about the cost of sending a team down to there on Oct. 10, and they gathered together a team of 13 highly skilled personnel working in logistics, public information handling and other disciplines. Parks said his office was contacted the following day by Georgia on Oct. 11 that the state got less damage then expected and no longer needed Missoula OEM's team. 

"[The team] is still available if Florida were to call, which has a lot more damage," Parks said. "Maybe they've underestimated how many people they would need to help them, so we may still get some calls to go down and help in some other states that were damaged.

Parks said it's common for Montana to ask other states for help in times of emergency like an out-of-control wildfire or deep flooding. He adds it's only fair to return the favor when disaster strikes somewhere else in the U.S.

According to the OEM, no Montana taxpayer money would be used if Florida calls for help. The states receiving the help cover all costs associated with recovery efforts. 

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