Maryland National Guard’s 29th Combat Aviation Brigade to Assist with Water Purification Efforts
ANNAPOLIS, MD - Governor Larry Hogan today announced that he has directed the Maryland National Guard to send resources requested by Puerto Rico to assist in response and relief efforts following Hurricane Maria. The governor's directive follows conversations with the Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello, and other communications between staff-level officials. The governor has authorized the deployment of a 26-member detachment of the Maryland National Guard’s 29th Combat Aviation Brigade, which will deploy for potentially 60 days to conduct water purification with two tactical systems that can each purify 1,200 gallons of water per hour. Fresh water has been in critically short supply in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria made landfall on September 20th. Putting their equipment to use, the National Guard members will be assigned with converting hazardous water into water that is safe for drinking, cooking, and hygiene.
“During my conversation with Governor Rossello, I offered the full support of the State of Maryland to Puerto Rico and all areas devastated by these recent storms,” said Governor Hogan. “Maryland is fortunate to have been spared the worst effects of this hurricane season so far, and we stand ready to respond to those in desperate need of resources.”
The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) leads the state’s coordination of resource support through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, which allows for states and territories to share resources during and after disasters.
“The emergency management system in Maryland is filled with local, state, private, and non-governmental partners dedicated to ensuring the safety and resiliency of Maryland citizens. They also stand ready to support our sister states and territories in times of need," said Executive Director Russell Strickland. "MEMA will continue to coordinate requests for assistance in response to and recovery from disasters."
Maryland currently has a mission deployed to Florida supporting response and recovery operations. Twenty-two members of the Maryland Incident Management Team (IMT) have been managing four separate base camps in Florida that house and feed responding personnel. The assisting IMT members are from Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, and Washington Counties, the City of Baltimore, and the Town of Ocean City.
Maryland has recently completed five support missions in Texas and Florida following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, respectively. These include:
- The Maryland Department of Human Services sent staff to support disaster sheltering in the Houston, Texas area. The human service workers provided shelter set up, logistical support, and additional disaster services.
- Howard County Recreation and Parks sent a debris clearing and removal team to Southern Florida in order to assist the opening of roadways.
- The Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems and MEMA coordinated the deployment of a critical incident stress management (CISM) team. The CISM team, who are from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service and Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services, supported shelter workers and first responders in southwest Florida and the Florida Keys.
- The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) supported the Florida Department of Emergency Management's energy infrastructure fuels support team. MEA organized fuel delivery to gas stations, fueling depots, emergency generators, and critical infrastructure.
- The Howard County Office of Emergency Management conducted volunteer and donations management assistance in the Florida State Emergency Operations Center.