Virginia Guard personnel staged and ready for possible winter weather response operations

Virginia National Guard Humvees like these in Sandston are staged at locations across Virginia and more than 200 personnel are ready to rapidly respond if needed by Virginia State Police or local emergency response organizations. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Virginia National Guard Humvees like these in Sandston are staged at locations across Virginia and more than 200 personnel are ready to rapidly respond if needed by Virginia State Police or local emergency response organizations. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

SANDSTON, Va. – More than 200 Virginia National Guard personnel are staged at readiness centers across Virginia and ready to support state and local emergency response organizations Feb. 12, 2014. An additional 50 Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force are on duty at the Joint Operations Center in Sandston and Logistics Operation Center at Fort Pickett to provide mission command, administrative and sustainment support for units in the field. Personnel are staged at readiness centers along the I-81 corridor, in Central Virginia along Route 29, I-64 and I-95 as well as locations in Northern Virginia.

A Virginia National Guard Soldier from the Sandston-based Battery A, 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team conducts chain saw training with Henrico County firefighters Feb. 12, 2014, at the Henrico County Fire Training Center to prepare for possible winter storm response operations.  (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

A Virginia National Guard Soldier from the Sandston-based Battery A, 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team conducts chain saw training with Henrico County firefighters Feb. 12, 2014, at the Henrico County Fire Training Center to prepare for possible winter storm response operations. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

“We accomplished our objective of getting our units into place before the snow started to fall, and now we are staged and ready to assist with response operations if we are needed,” said. Col. James Zollar, director of joint operations for the Guard.

Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency Feb. 11, 2014, and authorized up to 300 Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force could be brought on state active duty.

Many of the Guard Soldiers have been organized into debris reduction teams and linked up with Virginia State Police troopers in their area. Traveling in Humvees and equipped with chain saws, the Soldiers will be able to assist troopers and other emergency organizations in clearing roads of fallen trees and other debris. Other Soldiers in Humvees could assist with transporting health care professional or seriously injured patients in need of medical assistance.

The Virginia National Guard receives their missions through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management to assist state and local emergency response organizations and is not able to respond to direct support requests from the public, Zollar said. “If the hazardous weather creates any conditions where people need assistance, they should request assistance through their local dispatcher or 911 service, not directly to the Virginia National Guard. When appropriate, the request for assistance will be forwarded to us for action,” he said.

Photos:

Va. Soldiers conduct chain saw training with Henrico County firefighters
http://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/12486592415/

116th IBCT Soldiers prepare for winter storm
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