Local agencies ready to assist Hurricane Ian relief effort

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 10:38 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - On Wednesday, Tennessee authorities stepped up to support and aid those impacted by Hurricane Ian.

Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida on Wednesday, flooding homes, streets and cutting power to thousands.

Federal emergency agencies are already on the ground along with the military, volunteers and other emergency response teams from the Mid-South.

About 1,200 Tennessee Army and Air National Guard service men and women from across the Volunteer State are now headed to Florida.

Units being deployed from Tennessee include:

  • the 194th Engineer Brigade in Jackson
  • 230th Engineer Battalion in Trenton
  • 212th Engineer Company in Paris
  • 251st Military Police Company in Lexington
  • 278th Regimental Support Squadron in Columbia
  • 1175th Transportation Company in Tullahoma
  • 30th Troop Command in Tullahoma
  • 176th Combat Service Support Battalion in Johnson City
  • 776th Maintenance Company in Elizabethton
  • 253rd Military Police Company in Lenoir City
  • 1176th Transportation Company in Jacksboro and Smyrna
  • Airmen from the 118th Wing in Nashville
  • 164th Airlift Wing in Memphis
  • and the 134th Air Refueling Wing in Knoxville are also deploying to Florida on Sept. 29, as well as volunteers from other Army and Air units across the state.

In a release, the Tennessee Military Department says Jackson’s 194th Engineer Brigade will be the Task Force Headquarters element.

Units from both the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment and the 230th Sustainment Command will be mobilizing specific units to support the task force.

The department also says three helicopters with the 1-230th Assault Helicopter Battalion are also scheduled to assist.

The Tennessee Military Department also says two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from Nashville and one from Jackson, all with the 1-230th Assault Helicopter Battalion, flew to Florida on Sept. 28 and are currently preparing to assist with recovery missions.

Commander of the 194th Engineer Brigade Colonel John Kinton says their brigade includes three battalions of engineers, military police and multi-functional members for situations like high water vehicle missions.

“This whole region does a really good job taking care of each other,” Kinton said.

“When they needed us in Louisiana or Florida or Kentucky and all those recent events, the Tennesseans were happy to come and assist there and they’re in the same boat,” he said.

The “Power Team” with the Memphis District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Craig Field in Selma, Alabama is also preparing and staging 117 generators.

“As The Power Team, we play a crucial role in disaster relief,” said Sean Pezeshk, structural engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Memphis District and mission liaison for The Power Team. “We try to bring power to people that need it during these times.”

Pezeshk says a majority of his team left for Alabama on Wednesday.

The 20-member Emergency Power Planning and Response Team will be standing by ready to jump into action to help FEMA provide power for vital facilities like hospitals and shelters.

“Usually the commercial power grid will go out and so really these public facilities, especially critical facilities like or nursing homes, hospitals, your fire stations anything,” Peseshk said. “Your wastewater plants and stuff like, that you don’t really think of, but they still need power. And they need it quicker than your other facilities.”

Relief organizations like the American Red Cross are on the ground in Florida, too.

The Tennessee Region says it has deployed over 30 volunteers and staff and has more than 500 disaster workers on the ground.

Action News 5 also checked in with the Salvation Army.

It says Memphis Area Commanders have not yet been deployed but are currently on stand-by along with other officers, employees and volunteers across the U.S.

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