As Florida prepared for Hurricane Irma, Gov. Scott Walker signed an executive order on Friday which called on the Wisconsin National Guard to assist in emergency services and response efforts in the south.
Hurricane Irma, initially labeleda Category 5 hurricane, barreled through the western coast of Florida on Sunday. Although forecasters originally predicted Irma to hit the eastern side of the state, the hurricane’s path changed, instead striking at areas less prepared for the storms. Officials have reported that Hurricane Irma was one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the Atlantic.
Walker’s order comes at a devastating time for southern states, as Hurricane Harvey tore through Texas and parts of Louisiana just a week earlier. The executive order authorizes Major General Donald Dunbar to call some of the Wisconsin National Guard to active duty. This allows members of the Guard to support Florida emergency relief teams if needed.
“We stand ready to help our friends in Florida who are bracing for Hurricane Irma, one of the strongest Atlantic Ocean storms on record,” Governor Walker said in a press release. “I thank Major General Dunbar and the men and women of the Wisconsin National Guard for their readiness and willingness to assist in response efforts.”
The order issued to assist Florida officials, Executive Order #254, follows a similar order also signed by Walker on Friday. This order, Executive Order #252, was issued to help those suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Executive Order #252 retracts several transportation regulations in hopes that the lack of restrictions will facilitate easier access to supplies. As a result of Harvey, many residents in the Houston area are facing shortages in food, water and other essential resources.
“This order will loosen certain restrictions to help carriers transport vital emergency relief supplies more efficiently and help the people affected by Hurricane Harvey as quickly and safely as possible,” said Governor Walker in a press release.
Walker’s executive order calling the National Guard to assist Irma declares a state of emergency under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. EMAC is designed to help increase federal aid and response times in cases of emergency.