MARTINSBURG, W.Va. --
The Federal Emergency Management Agency staged relief supplies at the 167th Airlift Wing ahead of Hurricane Florence which made landfall in North Carolina, Sept. 14.
About 70 trailers full of food, water, blankets, cots, tents and fuel stood on stand-by, ready to mobilize as needed from the wing.
“We’re staging commodities here in anticipation of a potential flood hazard in West Virginia,” said Randy Branson, a logistics planner for the Response Division of FEMA Region X, and team leader for the staging operations at the 167th AW.
As the tractor-trailer loads of supplies from warehouses in Cumberland, Md., and Frederick, Md., rolled onto the base, Branson explained that his team was operating under a surge.
“The post Katrina Emergency Management Relief Act of 2006 gave FEMA the ability to move assets in advance of a presidential declaration of an emergency, to be prepared for a disaster declaration,” Branson said.
Had the storm caused severe flooding, as initially expected, the supplies would have been dispatched to distribution points in West Virginia.
“Fortunately for us we did not receive the amount of rain we were initially forecasted to get. Regardless, we were prepared and had a plan to execute as needed,” said Col. Rodney Neely, 167th AW vice commander.
About 20 Airmen assisted with the staging operations at the 167th AW.
“We are always pleased to assist other government agencies helping those in need,” Neely said.
The FEMA staging facility at the 167th AW was terminated about three days after Florence made landfall when it was clear the storm’s impact in the local area would be minimal.
The 167th Airlift Wing has served as a staging area for disaster relief efforts numerous times. Last year the base served as a staging area for relief supplies going into Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico after hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.