INDIANAPOLIS – In response to Hurricane Sandy and the overlapping winter storm expected to affect the East Coast and New England area, several Indiana emergency response assets, including elements with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) District Response Task Forces, have deployed to the region.
On Saturday, Oct. 27, Indiana began receiving requests for resources to aid with evacuation and response for Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast. IDHS immediately increased staffing at the State of Indiana Emergency Operations Center to reach out to partners within the state to evaluate resources that could be deployed to assist.
A total of 107 personnel and 44 vehicles, including 24 ambulances, have been deployed. Teams will assist however they are needed, but some anticipated actions include evacuation of hospitals and nursing homes. They also will stand by to provide response assistance as directed.
“We believe Indiana was one of the first, if not the first, state to respond to the request for aid from the east coast,” said Joe Wainscott, director of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. “We are constantly planning, training and preparing our emergency response resources so they can be readily available to assist our citizens in Indiana and others in their time of need.”
As of this morning, Indiana has deployed the state Incident Management Assistance Team, two All Hazards Incident Management Teams and five Emergency Medical Services Teams (or EMS Strike Teams). There are no further requests at this time.
Incident Management Team deployment
A 15-person IMAT has been deployed to Maryland. They left Indiana at 6 a.m. Sunday and arrived in Maryland at 10 a.m. The team includes public safety professionals from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Indiana University, Indiana Department of Corrections, Integrated Public Safety Commission, Indiana Office of Technology, Montgomery County, the city of Lafayette, Indiana State Police and the Family and Social Services Administration.
An AHIMT from District 2 has also been deployed to Maryland to assist in the response. Additionally, District 7 AHIMT is going to New York.
All incident management teams will be deployed until Nov. 11, unless their assignment is extended.
Other than the state IMAT, the AHIMTs and ambulance strike teams are local responders who volunteer to be part of the task forces and whose employers support their participation.
Medical Strike Team deployment
Ambulance strike teams from Districts 1, 2, 4, 6, and 7have been deployed. Each of the five districts staffed a strike team.
On Sunday, units and personnel from Districts 2, 4, and 7 were deployed to New Jersey before noon. There are 15 ambulances total and 27 personnel. Each district had 5 ambulances.
Last night, nine more ambulances were deployed to New Jersey from District 6 and District 1. There are 27 personnel. District 1 has four ambulances. District 6 has five ambulances.
Both teams will assist however they are needed, but some anticipated actions are evacuation of hospitals and nursing homes. They also will stand by to provide response assistance (such as accidents, injuries, illness) as directed. Unless extended, they will return to Indiana on November 1.
Background information on IDHS DRTFs
The state of Indiana is organized into ten districts, each with its own District Response Task Force. Each task force is ready to be deployed anywhere in the state within a few hours of notice. They are also prepared to deploy to assist other states. Please see attached map for the district designations.
Indiana practices for disasters and emergencies regularly, so there are teams across the state which are ready to rapidly respond to all types of incidents. IDHS led full scale exercises in April and September of this year that included many of the components that are being deployed to the east coast, and some of the same staff were used in response to the disaster in Southern Indiana in March of this year.