FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Kentucky-based organizations continue to help victims in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
A dozen Kentucky Division of Forestry personnel left Tuesday for South Florida. Although best known for wildlife suppression, they also have experience in all types of hazards and emergency scenarios, including the aftermath of severe weather.
As they did with Hurricane Harvey in Texas, the KDF firefighters will primarily operate as chainsaw crews, clearing debris from streets and rights-of-way. They could also assist at emergency supply distribution centers, or other duties, as the needs arise.
“Clearing roads is an essential element in relief efforts,” said James Wright, director of the Kentucky Division of Forestry. “This allows power companies access to their lines and expedites the delivery of critically needed materials and supplies.”
Kentucky crews are sending aid as part of the Master Cooperative Wildlife Fire Management Agreement with the U.S. Forest Service. In addition to fires, the agreement coordinates aid in the event of a natural disaster.
A Kentucky-based U. S. Coast Guard unit is also in Florida helping victims of Irma. The Marine Safety Unit in Paducah joined Coast Guard Flood Punt Teams from Huntington, West Virginia, and West Tennessee, to rescue 108 people in Jacksonville on Monday. Of that number, the Paducah unit is credited with saving 91 people as well as 41 pets.
The Coast Guard also made 1,050 wellness checks on those in the Jacksonville area stranded by the floodwaters on Monday alone.