The state of Florida deployed a nine-person All-Hazards Incident Management Team comprised of members from the Florida Department of Emergency Management (FDEM) to Kentucky Wednesday night in order to assist with tornado outbreak response.
Deployed for an estimated 14 days, the team will operate out of the Kentucky State Emergency Operations Center and provide operational support to the Kentucky Emergency Management division. Duties include damage assessment, response to additional emergency events, and managerial oversight of localized recovery efforts.
All-Hazards Incident Management Teams are multi-state agency teams made up of local law enforcement, fire rescue, EMS, public health, emergency management, and other public safety partners with standardized training and field experience.
“Earlier this week, we made it clear that Florida would not hesitate to support states impacted by the devastating tornado outbreak,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “This team is made up of dedicated public servants who are willing to work through the holidays and provide aid to a state in need. I’m proud that we’re able to deploy this team quickly and help impacted areas begin their recovery efforts.”
A rare, late-season tornado outbreak hit portions of the Southern and Midwest from December 10 to the early morning of December 11, 2021. The tornadoes first touched down in northeastern Arkansas and tracked through Missouri before crossing the Mississippi River into portions of West Tennessee, the storm eventually ravaged western Kentucky, where the town of Mayfield suffered catastrophic damage. The series of storms are registered as some of the deadliest on record.
The disaster event claimed 74 lives within Kentucky and caused an estimated hundreds of millions in damages to towns and residential suburbs, becoming one of the costliest catastrophes the region has faced in decades.
“All-Hazards Incident Management Teams are trained to provide support where it’s needed,” said FDEM Director Kevin Guthrie. “They’re adaptable, qualified, and are always ready to answer the call for help. Through this deployment, we’ll continue coordinating with our emergency management partners and work to fulfill requests for assistance.”
As well as the accounted deaths in Kentucky, 109 residents remain unaccounted for, per Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear. At least 14 people have been killed in four other states – six in Illinois, four in Tennessee, and two each in Arkansas and Missouri, according to CNN.
Upwards of 500 National Guard members were sent to assist the region with rescue tasks like person searches and debris cleanup, and several state parks across Kentucky have offered to help house families that were left homeless.