Missoula Emergency Team Hosts Florida Governor on Airboat Tour
Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The Missoula County All-Hazards Incident Management Team got right to work over the weekend after arriving in Florida to provide assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian by providing an airboat tour to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to view the hurricane’s destruction close up and personal.
Public Information Officer Nick Holloway called into the KGVO Newsmakers line on Monday with details.
Florida Governor Hitches a Ride with Missoula Response Team
“We are doing search and rescue operations with the fire department,” began Holloway. “The fire department has now caught up after having a backlog of over 500 calls for service. They're caught up and they're able to respond to people as they call in. The response is primarily in airboats because the neighborhoods are still flooded. There's deep floodwater, and they just started using airboats to get down streets to get people out. As a matter of fact, the governor was here yesterday and we showed him around the area on an airboat.”
Holloway expanded on some of the duties the Missoula County team had been performing over the weekend in Florida.
“We'd set up some mass feeding for folks,” he said. “We have a neighborhood point of distributing ice, MRE’s (Meals Ready-To-Eat), and water. There has been a steady flow of cars but they're doing it really efficiently so it's not a stagnant flow. Cars are just moving right on through. We have two canteens set up on opposite sides of town to provide hot meals for folks, as well.”
Looting is not a Factor in Florida
Holloway said there was fear that some looting might occur after the hurricane passed, but that has not been a factor.
“Law enforcement are not reporting any looting,” he said. “They are also providing security to gas stations. There are long lines at gas stations and the gas stations sort of pop up with gas and then they'll run out of gas and the next one will pop up with gas. So that's a moving target to get gas. Power is being restored little by little. There are currently 13,480 households without power. That's 33 percent of the community. Of course, it was 100 percent right after the storm so they're getting that done as we try to transition from response to recovery. We're getting debris removal and solid waste removal taken care of as well.”
Just Imagine if Missoula had been Wrecked by a Natural Disaster
Holloway was asked about his personal view of the hurricane’s devastation.
“It's sad to see,” he said. “Just imagine in your hometown in Missoula, if the place was just thoroughly wrecked. It's just sad to see. It'll take years to get back and recover from this. As I told you before, I was up in on Hurricane Michael and that was a Cat (Category) five, and this was for all intents and purposes a cat five. It's just tough to see. People at first are sort of in shock, and then reality starts setting in and they just start picking up the pieces.”
The Missoula County All-Hazards Incident Management Team is hard at work helping Florida residents pick up those pieces.