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State, Entergy sending more assistance to Sandy's victims

NORTHEASTERN U.S. — The State of Mississippi is sending more aid to areas in the path of Hurricane Sandy, and a utility is sending more personnel to assist in restoring power.

Three swift water rescue teams made up of task force members from all over the state are deploying to Maryland to assist with rescue efforts related to Sandy. The teams are equipped with one team leader, three swift water rescue personnel and a boat capable of transporting three survivors and the crew, among other equipment.

“Our team members have trained for many hours for situations just like this,” said Desoto County Emergency Management director and task force leader Bobby Storey. “The equipment and manpower are rolling that way. We are honored to represent the state of Mississippi and to assist the state of Maryland and their residents.”

These swift water rescue teams are an important response tool created after Hurricane Katrina. Through various grant programs the teams were equipped and trained to respond in the state of Mississippi and elsewhere on short notice.

MEMA Office of Response director Tom McAllister, logistics chief Don Wilson, deputy logistics chief Phillip Langston and assistant to the director Jasper Welsch deployed over the weekend to assist with Sandy and its impacts. This assistance is being provided through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. This compact allows for state-to-state support during disasters. All costs for this deployment and any additional assistance will be reimbursed by the requesting state under EMAC. MEMA is prepared to send more support if other states request it. The expenses for deployments through EMAC are paid for by the requesting state.

In a related item, Entergy Corporation utilities in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas are sending a second wave of emergency workers to help restore utility service to those expected to lose power due to Sandy. With yesterday’s addition, the company is sending a total of more than 850 restoration workers and support personnel to the region impacted by the hurricane.

“We are sending more workers, both our company employees and our resident contract workforce, to join those who left last weekend,” said Greg Grillo, who coordinates Entergy’s storm response. “They include scouts, who assess damage when safe to do so after the storm, and tool workers who will help rebuild the electrical system.”

Scouts left yesterday, and the tool workers will leave today. They will join 305 of their fellow Entergy workers who are already in the Northeast and standing by, ready to help. In addition, Entergy will provide some customer service representatives to remotely answer customer calls from affected areas.

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