Many states are sending help to other states hit hard by Hurricane Michael; New Jersey is one such state. The New Jersey All Hazards Incident Management Team (NJ-AHIMT) is one such group deployed to help in Florida and Georgia. Last year, the NJ-AHIMT was deployed to support the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency (PREMA) in the wake of back-to-back Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The NJ-AHIMT is a team of highly trained, experienced professionals that come from emergency management, firefighting, law enforcement, public health, public works, information technology and related fields from around the state. The team can be requested to support the incident management needs of local communities and agencies when requested during major emergency events and large scale planned events. Members of New Jersey Task Force 1 (NJ-TF1) Urban Search and Rescue Team has also been deployed; this is a team of 82 highly-skilled volunteers and four K9 specialists to help recover survivors or bodies from disasters like the one Michael brought to the southeastern United States.
New Jersey has also responded to a request for assistance by the State of Georgia and is currently deploying over twenty-five generators from New Jersey Task Force One Headquarters in Wall Township, New Jersey. This request was made through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), the national state-to-state mutual aid system. Agencies across states are able to work together to provide effective aid after a disaster. All costs associated with the deployment will be paid for by the State of Georgia.
Yesterday, the NJ Office of Emergency Management released this picture and story about the efforts of NJ-TF-1 in door-to-door searches underway in the Florida panhandle. “While on their mission, team member Kinte Holt, a Captain with the Hamilton Township Fire Department, came across this little boy. Hurricane Michael has devastated his home and surrounding neighborhood. The little boy didn’t ask for food or water. He just wanted to be comforted by someone reading him a book. Captain Holt took the time to read the boy a story, giving them both a sense of peace among the chaos, even if only for a moment.”
Southern states have been vocal about their appreciation of New Jersey’s efforts. In a Facebook post from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency / Homeland Security, they told New Jersey’s Office of Emergency Management, “Thank you for helping our state in our time of need. You are appreciated!”
NJ-TF1 had been deployed to the Carolinas to aid with Hurricane Florence efforts there. FEMA had requested their presence in Alabama ahead of Hurricane Michael’s impacts. The New Jersey team was joined by two K9 search specialists from New York Task Force One (NY-TF1). As the disaster unfolded, FEMA directed resources to areas most needing their help in Florida and Georgia.
The toll of Hurricane Michael’s impacts continue to be added. As of now, 29 fatalities have been attributed to the storm across four states. CoreLogic, a property data company, estimates that Michael caused up to $5 billion in insured losses, while catastrophe modeling company, Karen Clark & Co., estimates the loss might be as high as $8 billion. These numbers exclude an estimated $1.3billion in crops lost, with cotton and pecans being the primary casualty there.