Louisiana assists Florida as Hurricane Ian reaches landfall: Gov. John Bel Edwards

Staff Report
A satellite image shows Hurricane Ian approaching Florida on the morning of Sept. 28.

As Hurricane Ian reached landfall, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards spoke with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and offered assistance and resources to aid the people of the Gulf coast state.

Resources were en route, and preparations were underway for additional assistance once damage assessments started, according to a news release from Gov. Edwards. 

Gov. John Bel Edwards is shown at an event in Lafayette in a file photo from Sept. 6.

“Louisiana knows all too well the chaos and destruction a hurricane as strong as Ian can bring, and we will do everything we can to help our neighbors in Florida and other states impacted by this storm,” stated Gov. Edwards. “I have spoken with Governor DeSantis and instructed our state agencies to offer resources, personnel and expertise to Florida officials, some of which is already on its way. The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and my senior staff will remain in regular contact with their counterparts in Florida. I also ask that you join your prayers to mine for the people of Florida and surrounding areas as they endure this devastating storm."

Jon and Pam Aigner of Pittsburgh enjoy the view from the Conn Beach boardwalk in Vero Beach on Sept. 28 as Hurricane Ian churned along Florida's west coast.

Assistance already fully approved for Florida:

  • Two UH- 60 Blackhawk Aircraft and Crews – Louisiana National Guard, 9 personnel total
  • Two Movement Control Teams - Louisiana National Guard, 14 personnel  (This team helps track and coordinate the movement of resources and personnel across the impacted regions)
  • Horizontal Engineer Company- Louisiana National Guard, up to 155 personnel (This company helps provide engineer support in affected areas post landfall) 
  • Light and Medium Truck Company Support- Louisiana National Guard, 67 personnel (This company supplies transportation resources in support of missions related to supplies and personnel)

“Hurricane Ian has reached Category 4, borderline line Category 5, status as it’s approached the west coast of Florida,” stated GOHSEP Director Casey Tingle. “We have had our own recent experience dealing with storms at that level. We understand the need to support others with emergency resources and personnel because other states often supply Louisiana with the same assistance. We will continue to review any requests and offer assistance whenever possible with response and the expected recovery process.”

“The Louisiana National Guard is proud of the long-standing partnership with the Citizen Soldiers and Airmen of the great State of Florida,” said Major General Keith Waddell, Louisiana National Guard. “We remain ready to protect what matters for those who have supported Louisiana in years past.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a news conference about updates and preparations for Hurricane Ian at the State Emergency Operations Center on Sept. 27 in Tallahassee, Fla.

Gov. Edwards has instructed GOHSEP to give him regular updates on assistance for Florida while he leads a delegation to London on an economic development mission.

Gov. Edwards’ Chief of Staff Mark Cooper has been in regular communication with Gov. DeSantis’ Chief of Staff James Uthmeier. 

Requests for assistance are made through a state-to-state system known as the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC.) EMAC offers assistance during governor-declared states of emergency through a responsive, straightforward system that allows states to send personnel, equipment, and commodities to help disaster relief efforts in other states. Through EMAC, states are able to join forces and help one another, as needed, during each phase of the emergency. The state-to-state system was developed after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and established in 1996.