A nine-member team of Floridians embarked Wednesday to support the ongoing recovery effort in Kentucky, one of several states ravaged by a swarm of tornadoes last Friday.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management’s All-Hazards Incident Management Team will provide operational support to local emergency management officials during their 14-day mission.
First Lady Casey DeSantis and her three children — Madison, Mason and Mamie — met with team members before their deployment. Casey, 41, is undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
“Madison, Mason, Mamie, and I enjoyed the opportunity to send off these heroic individuals today,” said the First Lady. “We are thankful for their sacrifice during the holiday season and are proud of Florida’s willingness to lend a helping hand to Kentuckians in need. Their service embodies the true Christmas spirit.”
All-Hazards Incident Management Teams consist of members who specialize in various fields including law enforcement, fire fighting, public health, and logistics, among others.
Florida over the weekend offered the team and more to impacted states and expressed an eagerness to “return the favor” of emergency support.
Florida is the fourth-most disaster-prone state and often welcomes the help of neighboring states during disaster recovery efforts.
“All-Hazards Incident Management Teams are trained to provide support where it’s needed,” said FDEM Director Kevin Guthrie. “They’re adaptable, qualified, and are always ready to answer the call for help. Through this deployment, we’ll continue coordinating with our emergency management partners and work to fulfill requests for assistance.”
Thousands of residents are displaced after the tornado cluster blew through the region, killing dozens and leaving hundreds missing.
Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Indiana and Ohio are among the impacted states.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said he was proud to mobilize the team.
“Earlier this week, we made it clear that Florida would not hesitate to support states impacted by the devastating tornado outbreak,” DeSantis said. “This team is made up of dedicated public servants who are willing to work through the holidays and provide aid to a state in need”
This won’t be the team’s first rodeo. In recent years, they’ve also mobilized to Louisiana after Hurricane Ida, Mississippi after Hurricanes Marco and Laura, and Hawaii after a volcanic eruption.
The Governor’s Office highlighted the Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund as a way Floridians can aid the recovery process.