Greenfield-The Baker -Polito Administration today announced that Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is sending more help to Florida as communities continue to recover and rebuild from the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. The Commonwealth has assembled a joint team of emergency management personnel from the Northwest Massachusetts Incident Management Team (NWMIMT) and the Department Conservation and Recreation (DCR) for a fifteen day deployment. “We are honored that our team has been chosen to work alongside DCR personnel to get Floridians back on their feet”, said Dennis Annear, the NWMIMT Team leader. “We are extremely fortunate to have a strong team of experienced professionals willing and available to help.”

Early this week the 12-person incident management team of nine NWMIMT and three DFS personnel will travel from Western MA to Tallahassee, where they will receive their assignment from the State of Florida Emergency Operations Center. The NWMIMT members who will be responding hail from Greenfield, Lanesboro, Leyden, New Salem, Amherst, Monson and Jacksonville Vt. Collectively they have decades of experience managing complex incidents.

The request for assistance from Florida came through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), which is the national emergency management mutual aid system that facilitates state-to-state disaster assistance. The requesting state (in this case Florida), fully reimburses Massachusetts for costs. All personnel are coordinated between the two state emergency management agencies.

NWMIMT is a group of highly dedicated volunteers from across Western Massachusetts, each of whom has extensive training in the National Incident Management System. The team has been deployed locally multiple times over the years for missions involving hazardous waste spills, search and rescue operations, brush fires and tornado response. Most recently, the team assisted with a tanker rollover in Whately and a train derailment in Wendell. Further afield, the team has assisted with two other EMAC requests: to assist in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and in New York State after Hurricane Sandy. In Massachusetts the team supported MEMA in the operation of the staging area for the Out-of- State snow removal equipment for the Greater Boston Area in 2015 at Hanscom Field in Bedford.

The team is thankful for the support and funding it has received from the Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council, the Tri-State Fire Mutual Aid Association and MEMA.

Throughout the Florida deployment, Public Information Officers will provide updates to the team Twitter account @NWMIMT and here

(Press release sent to WSBS from the Northwest Massachusetts Incident Management Team for online and on-air use. Article image taken from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency's Facebook Page)