The state of Florida has requested that a team of Missoula city and county emergency responders prolong their stay to continue helping in the recovery of Hurricane Ian.
Adrian Beck, the county's director of Disaster and Emergency Services, said the team should return home later this month. The crew is currently working in North Port, Florida.
“They're doing really good work,” she said on Thursday. “They were originally scheduled to come back on the 13th. But the state of Florida has requested that they extend for four more days, so they'll come back in the later part of October.”
North Port was heavily hit when Hurricane Ian rolled across Florida in late September. The storm left the community swimming in floodwaters, its water system disabled and structures destroyed.
According to the Palm Beach Post, the storm left more than 800 people stranded in their homes and at least five community members have been confirmed dead.
“We deployed members from several agencies in the city and county of Missoula to outfit our Type III Incident Management Team,” Beck said. “That includes three from our Office of Emergency Management, two from the Missoula County Sheriff's Department, and four from Missoula city fire. They're serving in the traditional role of an Incident Management Team.”
Beck said that includes an incident commander, a public information officer, a liaison officer, and operations, finance and logistics.
Montana also has sent members of the National Guard to assist.
The two states have reciprocated by providing aid during disasters in recent years. In 2021, Florida Fire Service sent a Type 2 initial attack crew to help Montana in its wildfire suppression efforts.