WA National Guard closely monitoring Harvey, ready to respond

KING 5's Natalie Brand reports.

The Pentagon has said that thousands of National Guard troops are at the ready in the wake of Harvey.

So far, Washington state’s National Guard is closely monitoring the situation and participating in morning conference calls, but hasn’t sent resources to Texas or Louisiana yet.

“One of the things we’re doing is we’re watching the Doppler,” said Col. Kevin McMahan pointing to one of many monitors within the Joint Operations Center at Camp Murray.

The center runs 24/7 tracking all current crises from this week’s wildfires in Washington state to the unprecedented flooding in Texas.

“It's kind of a balancing act,” said McMahan. “If we do have resources that Louisiana and Texas need, is it something we also need here, because we don't want to release those to turn around and have to recall them back.”

While rescue operations continue across the Southeast, the focus remains on aviation support. Airmen are assisting with rescues, evacuations and delivering food and water to areas that need it.

National Guard air resources have been sent from several other states including Alaska, California, Oregon, Florida and New York, according to the Department of Defense.

Overall, 24,000 National Guard troops have been deployed to assist local and state emergency responders, as of Wednesday.

Members of Washington’s National Guard, which includes 6,000 Army National Guard and 2,000 airmen, are prepared to mobilize within 24 to 48 hours, if they get the call, as they did in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina.

The citizen soldiers train for all types of domestic disasters from catastrophic flooding to the expected massive earthquake that has the Pacific Northwest on edge.

“We would ask our soldiers and airman to be resilient; we would ask the local population to be resilient as well,” said McMahan.

He said that includes stocking your home with supplies to survive for days, ideally two weeks, as well as thinking through a family disaster plan before it’s too late.

“If the flood waters are 24 hours out, that's not the time to come up with that plan,” said McMahan. “That's not the time to go get those resources. So, having that all thought through, exercise that with your family, with your friends, that's, I think, the key to success.”

© 2017 KING-TV


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