Harford County is ready to help Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, which pounded the state Sunday night into Monday, knocking out power to millions, flooding homes and sending debris flying.
As Florida begins to recover, Harford County is prepared to lend assistance through its emergency rescue resources.
“The terrible loss of lives and devastation … [is] heartbreaking,” Cindy Mumby, a spokesperson for Harford County Executive Barry Glassman’s administration, said.
On Sunday afternoon, Glassman authorized a seven-member swiftwater rescue team (six crew members and one crew chief), and an emergency planner to be offered through the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to Florida emergency officials, according to a post on the county government’s Facebook page.
The offer authorized Sunday morning was in response to a nationwide request for assistance in Florida from the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (a national, interstate mutual aid agreement), which was coordinated locally through MEMA.
The swiftwater rescue team and planner will be added to a list of available resources being compiled by MEMA.
The Harford County team has been assembled and is ready to deploy as soon as they are called, Mumby said.
Harford responded similarly to a request following Hurricane Harvey which wreaked havoc in the Houston area of Texas nearly two weeks ago. The county had a team ready to leave; however, state and federal emergency planners said that team wasn’t needed because they had numerous other offers of assistance.
A bill was also scheduled to be introduced to the Harford County Council Tuesday night for the county “to be prepared for other opportunities to help,” Mumby said.
Glassman has received the full support from the council to help,” she said.
“The goal of the legislation is to lay the groundwork and be prepared for opportunities that may arise to provide help to the victims of these two hurricanes,” Mumby said.
After Hurricane Katrina ravaged parts of Louisiana in August 2005, Harford provided assistance to rebuild the area’s infrastructure, she said.
“The opportunity could present itself through an emergency management agency, it could be a contribution or it could be to assist with infrastructure rebuilding,” Mumby said. “Those are the kinds of things that could be opportunities to assist the victims. But first, we need to set the wheels in motion to be able to act.”