(WASHINGTON, DC — On the heels of Mayor Vincent C. Gray's emergency decree for the District, the D.C. National Guard is prepared to respond to storm damage.
The D.C. National Guard's Quick Reaction Force of approximately 150 soldiers and airmen are prepared to respond to the storm's aftermath. On order, the District of Columbia National Guard will provide support to local civil authorities to ensure continuity of vital services, protection of infrastructure and maintenance of law and order. The DCNG will also be ready to provide for the protection of the lives or property of the people of the District and performs other missions as directed or requested by local authorities. These response packages include traffic control assistance and helicopter assets.
"The District of Columbia National Guard is taking necessary precautions to ensure that we can provide timely effective responses coordinated with other local and federal agencies in the aftermath of this terrible storm, " said Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz, Commanding General, District of Columbia National Guard. "These are the kind of events we train for every day. We are truly always ready, always there for the citizens of the District of Columbia."
The federal government, city schools and many local businesses are closed. While most of the city was home preparing for the storm, these guardsmen are ready to respond to a worst case scenario. Many of the Guardsmen spent the weekend preparing their homes and families for the hurricane, knowing that they would need to be available.
"We've fueled and moved military vehicles into position and we're retraining on traffic control procedures." said Col. Aaron R. Dean, troop commander. "As the Nation's first military responder, we have a duty to be ready to respond at a moment's notice."
The D.C. National Guard is leaning on the experience of responding to other natural disasters. In recent years, the D.C. National Guard responded to the Deretcho storms, Hurricane Irene and the Snowpocolypse blizzard.
With events moving rapidly on the ground, the numbers of Guard members and states responding to the storm are expected to increase.
Across the country, more than 61,100 National Guard members are available to assist civilian authorities in potentially affected states in support of relief efforts. Available National Guard resources include almost 140 rotary-winged aircraft to perform search and rescue, reconnaissance and personnel or cargo-carrying missions.
Heavy rain, extensive power outages, significant flooding and dangerous conditions are likely, according to National Guard Coordination Center reports. The storm is predicted to be one of the largest and most damaging the East Coast has experienced in decades.