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    Maryland Guard answers state’s call for help



    Story by Sgt. Edwin Gray 

    29th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    REISTERSTOWN, Md. – Approximately 500 service members of the Maryland National Guard and Defense Force, were activate to help with severe winter weather operations throughout the state.

    Most of these troops were prepositioned at readiness centers throughout Maryland and then dispatched to support local first responders.

    Many first response vehicles are not capable of traveling through deep snow. In response to this dilemma, the Maryland Guard has provided approximately 50 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles with troops to help get the first responders through the snow safely.

    Gov. Martin O’Malley asked Marylanders to refrain from using the roads so emergency workers could do their jobs efficiently and more people stay safe.

    “Our Maryland Guard has deployed roughly 500 people,” said O’Malley. “They are helping in response to local calls for service.”

    The Maryland National Guard receives its missions through the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) when there is a need to assist state and local emergency response organizations.

    MEMA is part of the Maryland Military Department and under the authority of the adjutant general. The agency is responsible for coordinating the state’s response in any major emergency or disaster.

    “The way the Joint Task Force runs the system is very smooth. It allows us to keep accountability,” said Staff Sgt. Amanda Youngblood, supply sergeant with F Co., 128th Brigade Support Battalion. “The emergency response missions are being tracked with an online portal that allows state and local agencies to make requests for assistance.”

    Each request is updated when it has been assigned to a unit. The requester will know how many personnel will arrive and what equipment is being provided.

    Youngblood also added that her unit sent out multiple vehicles to various locations around the state to support local fire departments.

    The Guard trains and equips its troops to be ready and efficient when called upon. Many Maryland Guard members have experienced working alongside first responders during past state emergencies like Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and “Snowmageddon” in 2010.

    Service members have assisted stranded motorists, helped local law enforcement and firefighters with transportation and evacuation, aided in the distribution of supplies and provided support for search and rescue in previous state emergencies.

    “Having the [state of emergency] declaration early is vital to our ability to respond,” said Maj. Gen. James A. Adkins, the adjutant general of Maryland. “This gives us the ability to preposition our personnel and equipment. In an emergency situation, timing is critical. The training, skills and capabilities we use for our wartime missions are the same skills and capabilities that enable us to successfully respond to natural disasters.



    Date Taken: 02.13.2014
    Date Posted: 02.14.2014 08:59
    Story ID: 120637
    Location: REISTERSTOWN, MD, US 

    Web Views: 35
    Downloads: 0