Florida National Guard prepares for Dorian in Tallahassee

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By: Monica Casey | WCTV Eyewitness News
September 2, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Preparations are taking place across the state, as Floridians prepare for Hurricane Dorian; many are headquartered in Tallahassee, including the Florida National Guard.

A logistics staging area is also set up at the Tallahassee International Airport.

The state has contracted with the private company, Garner, to provide anything to make life more comfortable for those who might be impacted by Hurricane Dorian.

The National Guard has a similar objective.

"You name it, water purifying kits, generators, high wheel vehicles, helicopters, search and rescue equipment, zodiac boats, it's pretty much, we run the gamut of all kinds of equipment the military brings," said Major General James Eifert.

The state has mobilized almost 4,500 soldiers and airman of the Florida National Guard; inside the State Emergency Operations Center, it's a game of wait and see.

"The slowdown of the hurricane has actually given us more time to pre-position our people and our equipment, so we're really ready for anything that could happen," said Eifert.

The Garner staging area is in the exact same spot as last year, during Hurricane Michael.

The company has about 100 employees at the area now. Employees are not sure yet where they might be sent due to the unpredictable nature of Hurricane Dorian.

"We're hoping that it stays away from Florida and all of our neighboring states and also gets off the Bahamas because it's no fun for the people there," said Eifert.

Eifert said he was extremely proud of the Florida National Guard for jumping into action without hesitation.

The National Guard is supporting other missions, including operating a Logistics Staging Area (LSA) in White Springs, providing Liaison Officers (LNOs) to 17 counties, supporting one communication mission in Lake County and staffing six shelters in Putnam County.

The Florida National Guard is also supporting two aviation missions in Miami-Dade County, including an air bridge, and a Helicopter Search and Rescue Team is currently on standby.

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