Washington Air National Guard to Assist Hurricane Ian Responders


Gov. Jay Inslee has ordered the Washington Air National Guard to deploy a team to help first responders in the wake of Hurricane Ian.

Thousands in Florida were trapped after the hurricane caused extensive damage and knocked out electricity to 2.67 million homes, The Associated Press reported. The death toll remains unknown, but President Joe Biden said the hurricane could be the deadliest in Florida’s history.

The four-person Washington Air National Guard team will offer communication support to other responders through Oct. 14, Inslee wrote in a letter to Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty.

The team will help deploy Starlink satellite communication terminals, which are devices on the ground that connect to satellites that provide internet access without the need for a cable connection, the National Guard said in a news release.

Responders also used that technology, developed by SpaceX, during Washington’s 2020 wildfire season.

The team’s deployment comes after Florida officials submitted a request to Washington under a mutual-aid agreement ratified by Congress.

“We are happy to provide this critical capability to the first responders in Florida as they perform the important task of recovering after Hurricane Ian,” Daugherty said in a statement.