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Disaster relief workers from NH head to Fla., Texas

State House Bureau

September 13. 2017 11:53PM

MANCHESTER — As many as 50 disaster relief workers from New Hampshire will soon be headed for hurricane devastated Florida and Texas as part of relief efforts, according to N.H. Homeland Security Director Perry Plummer.

Plummer briefed the Executive Council on Wednesday, and told councilors they could expect to see contracts coming their way between New Hampshire and the states requesting relief, in which the Granite State will be compensated for the costs.

“We expect 40 to 50 people will be deployed in the next couple of weeks,” Plummer said in a later interview.

In addition to Florida and Texas, the state has also received calls for assistance from the Virgin Islands, Plummer said.

Those 40 or 50 people will be assigned to FEMA to work for 30 days on recovery efforts of all sorts, and FEMA will decide where they go. The personnel will come from agencies across the state.

“We’re sending some people from emergency management and some from state police, but they are also looking for IT people so our office of Information Technology has offered a couple people,” Plummer said. “Employment security has offered some people to process paperwork. They could come from all agencies and local public safety agencies as well.”

As of Wednesday, 14 New Hampshire residents were being processed to go to the storm areas, with two on the ground already from the Civil Air Patrol assisting at the Tallahassee Air Command Center.

“We’ve sent some civil air patrol folks down, and pending in the system we have troopers, DOT folks, a swift-water rescue team and an incident management team that is looking to respond,” he said.

FEMA is also requesting direct support to the federal emergency relief agency.

“All those costs get recovered in contracts with FEMA,” said Plummer, “but they may be retroactive just because of the timing of the situation.”

Plummer said the cost for deploying a single swift-water rescue team with equipment for 30 days would be around $150,000.

“We’re sending people down to do everything from cutting down trees and clearing debris, to paperwork for property damage assessment,” he said. “Anything we can do to get those people help and back on their feet as quickly as possible.”

Plummer said his agency is also coordinating its activities with New Hampshire utilities that are sending crews to help restore power.

Eversource announced on Wednesday that 100 of its employees from Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire had arrived in Orlando to assist with Irma power restoration efforts.

A convoy of 70 vehicles, including the company’s Mobile Command Center, headed south on Sept. 9 and arrived on Wednesday.

“The convoy stopped in Virginia on Sept. 10 to service the bucket trucks and prepare for the work ahead, then drove through flash flood warnings, tornado warnings and tropical storm warnings before arriving in Florida to check-in with the state’s largest power company, Florida Power & Light Company,” said Eversource Incident Commander Marc Geaumont.

Eversource posted several photos on Twitter of its crews in Florida:

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