hurricane florence

The State of Tennessee deployed multiple teams of state and local emergency management, medical, and swift-water rescue teams to the Carolinas Wednesday to support emergency officials readying for life-safety impacts when Hurricane Florence makes landfall Friday.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) is coordinating Tennessee’s Hurricane Florence deployments through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), with organizational support from the Tennessee Association of Fire Chiefs’ Mutual Aid System and the Tennessee Department of Health.

”Tennesseans have a volunteer spirit to step up and help our neighboring states in times of need and I thank the men and women from these various teams who will be on the ground in the Carolinas when the storm hits to immediately provide needed services and relief,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said. “I also commend TEMA for coordinating the resources while monitoring Hurricane Florence’s possible impact to Tennessee.”

Tennessee Provides Swift-Water Rescue Support

Tennessee’s Hurricane Florence swift-water rescue team has a total of 103 members, coming from each region of the state, with representatives from the following agencies and departments:

  • City of Atoka Fire
  • City of Brentwood Fire
  • City of Franklin Fire
  • City of Franklin Police
  • City of Gatlinburg Fire
  • City of Germantown Fire
  • City of Hendersonville Fire
  • City of Knoxville Fire
  • City of Lebanon Fire
  • City of Millington
  • City of Murfreesboro Fire & Rescue
  • City of Pigeon Forge Fire
  • City of Sevierville Fire
  • Metro Nashville Fire
  • Metro Nashville Police
  • Rutherford County Fire & Rescue
  • Shelby County Fire
  • Williamson County Emergency Management Agency
  • Williamson County Sheriff’s Office
  • Wilson County Emergency Management Agency

“Tennessee is sending well-trained and dedicated emergency managers, first responders, and health professionals to help South Carolinians through what could be a devastating disaster,” said Director Patrick Sheehan of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA). “We are all One Emergency Management when any of us provide assistance in an emergency situation. It doesn’t matter that we’re federal, state, or local responders. What matters is we are there to help when help is needed.”

Tennessee’s Hurricane Florence swift-water rescue team will stage operations in Columbia, S.C., for up to one week, possibly longer. The swift-water rescue personnel will conduct missions to save Hurricane Florence survivors from perilous conditions involving fast-moving or fast-rising flood waters. Team members have specialized training in conducting dangerous water rescue operations and transporting survivors to safety.

In addition to the swift water rescue teams, numerous other teams have been deployed including:

  • 2 nurse strike teams with 22 personnel will be staged in North Carolina
  • 4 communications personnel also to be in North Carolina
  • Ambulance Strike Team of 23 state and local personnel in North Carolina
  • Plus 2 ambulance bus teams with 7 personnel were previously deployed to South Carolina to assist in the evacuation of health care facilities in the Myrtle Beach and Charleston areas.
  • 7 TEMA staff members

Hurricane Florence strengthened Tuesday with winds of 140 mph, and may become more powerful before hitting the Carolina coast as a Category 4 storm Thursday night or Friday morning.

More than 1 million people are under mandatory evacuation orders in the coastal areas of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.