NEW ORLEANS - The New Orleans Fire Department and Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness held a press conference Monday morning at the NOFD Headquarter on Decatur Street in the French Quarter, revealing that 10 first responders from the city will be heading to Puerto Rico to help with hurricane recovery efforts on Thursday. They’ll be back in a couple weeks on December 15th.
The city decided to send in members from the Type 3 Emergency Incident Management Team to the hardest hit areas of the island, since New Orleans has been through several different disasters, including hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding.
"If any community is well aware of what happens in the aftermath of a disaster, such as Maria which hit Puerto Rico, New Orleans is," said NOFD Chief Timothy McConell. "We suffered great devastation after Katrina and we were very, very, very fortunate to have other people come in and help us — assist us in our greatest time of need."
The team has the skills needed to help Puerto Rico. Some of the members are Spanish speakers, but they will help in a variety of ways. They will aid local emergency crews there with incident management support, assessing damage, working with victims, navigating the FEMA process and more. These types of deployments are requested through the federal Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC).
The city has also helped with recovery efforts in Texas and Florida, following Hurricane Harvey and Irma. They have also helped out with other disasters across the country and state.