Thursday, August 04, 2011

EPLOs deploy to Caribbean for hurricane response preparation

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) -- With tropical storm activity increasing in the Atlantic region, officials from the Air Forces Northern National Security Emergency Preparedness Directorate deployed two emergency preparedness liaison officers to assist in response efforts in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

The EPLOs' skills, experience and knowledge of U.S. Air Force capabilities will assist in determining the right resources if Department of Defense assets are requested by civilian authorities to support the response within the stricken areas.

"When a natural disaster occurs, local officials are in charge of the response effort," said Michael Thornal, an NSEP official. "If the disaster becomes catastrophic, (Federal Emergency Management Agency representatives) will come in to assist the local authorities upon request of the governors. Our EPLOs deploy to the scene to augment the local and federal officials and to advise them of the resources AFNORTH can provide to aid in the response."

The EPLOs will be assigned to FEMA's Region II Defense Coordinating Element.

EPLOs are geographically assigned to each state and the 10 FEMA Regional Response Coordination Centers. The officers come from a wide range of career fields including air operations, logistics, medical, security forces and public affairs.