TEMA prepares to send help to states in path of Hurricane Laura

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NASHVILLE, Tenn., (WKRN) — State officials in Tennessee are keeping a close watch on Hurricane Laura and talking with emergency management in Louisiana and Mississippi.

“We’re looking right now at some potential requests to help with swift water rescue assets and technical rescue,” said TEMA Director Patrick Sheehan.

He added that Tennessee is working with states in the direct path of the storm to see what help they need ,and how soon they’ll need it. But, that does not mean forgetting the COVID-19 pandemic.

“One of the things we’re making sure we’re accounting for is being able to send them with personal protective equipment – face shields, goggles, respirators – either KN 95s or N-95s – the things that provide them a level of protection, perhaps beyond what we’d normally be providing as a matter of course for their safety,” Sheehan said. 

FEMA’s former Acting Deputy Administrator for Resilience said the pandemic is changing that agency’s response to events like Hurricane Laura.

“We made it a point to be ready. We knew we needed to #1, take care of our people. That’s the number one resource. We follow the CDC guidelines in normal business as well as emergencies,” said Carlos Castillo who is now the new Chief Development Officer for Tidal Basin, a disaster management consulting firm.

These are emergencies that may force evacuees from Gulf states to the volunteer state.

“If you have family that evacuates to stay with you, you may want to go ahead and take time to make provisions to give them a separate space in this COVID era,” Sheehan said.

They’re also helping evacuees remember to take precautions ahead of Laura’s remnants moving inland.

“They should be paying attention to where they’re parking and any trees that might need to be trimmed,” Sheehan advised.

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