Virginia National Guard Preparing for Hurricane Duty

The Virginia National Guard is preparing to bring as many as 300 personnel onto active duty during and after Hurricane Irene.

On Thursday morning, Gov. Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency in the Commonwealth. A state of emergency is declared so that state resources can be made available, and kicks a coordinated state response into gear.

"We will be staging personnel, vehicles and equipment to support missions such as high water transport and recovery, light debris removal and route clearance," said Col. Gerald T. Catrett, director of operations for the Virginia Guard. "It is critical for us to have personnel in place and ready to respond before severe weather hits so we can rapidly respond when called."

Approximately 250 personnel are scheduled to be in place by Friday evening at readiness centers in Bowling Green, Emporia and Sandston.

"Additional personnel have been alerted for possible duty and will be held in reserve for future missions," the Virginia National Guard said in a release.

The Virginia National Guard does does not respond to emergency calls from the public. Instead, they receive their assignments from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management to assist state and local emergency response groups. If you have an emergency, you should dial 911 or your local police dispatcher.

During and after Hurricane Isabel in 2003, more than 200 Virginia Guard Soldiers and Airmen assisted local emergency response teams. They distributed 2,013,400 pounds of ice and 1,192,200 gallons of water.

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