NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tennesseans are on the ground in Florida getting prepared to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

According to state leaders, Florida and Tennessee have a pre-existing mutual support agreement already in place for these kinds of emergencies.

“As we see requests from other states come in, and in this case, Florida, normally, the request is laid out pretty well with exactly what they’re asking for,” said Andy Bates, TEMA’s Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) Coordinator. “Then we have the opportunity to reach out either through state resources or with our local partners to develop a package to offer to them of assistance. Then they’ll review it and accept it.”

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency deployed a Type 4 Advanced Team. They sent an ambulance strike team that will support not only emergency response, but emergency evacuations from medical facilities as needed. Governor Bill Lee authorized 1,200 National Guard troops from Tennessee to deploy and assist Florida as well.

“Our ambulance strike teams originally landed in Florida at the original staging point, and then they will be pushed on to the area of of need for their services,” Bates said. “Then with the National Guard package, they will actually put them in the likely the most devastated areas to support emergency response and recovery efforts.”

Right now the plan is to have the ambulance strike team down in Florida for two weeks and the National Guard for 19 days.

“We are the Volunteer State. We pride ourselves on volunteering to provide those services and really with any type of EMAC requests like this, we generally have more people volunteer their services and offer the response capabilities, than we can actually send so we’re usually never shy of having personnel to support a request,” Bates said.

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This all comes as we near the end of National Preparedness Month where emergency officials across the country have been encouraging people to plan for natural disasters just like they do as government agencies.

“It all starts with preparedness, doing the work on the front end to prepare yourself and plan for the resources needed,” said Bates. “Even our Tennesseans, we suggest everyone have an emergency plan and emergency kit.”