BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana is sending aid to Puerto Rico after recent earthquakes there.
On Wednesday, Feb. 5, Governor John Bel Edwards approved the deployment of more than 20 deputies with the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal (LAOSFM) to help in the recovery efforts. This comes after a request for help from Purto Rico Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced.
“We have our fair share of natural disasters in Louisiana, and because of our experience with destruction and devastation, our first responders are second to none. Helping one another in a time of need is a Louisiana value, and we are grateful for these 23 first responders who are volunteering their time and skills to assist the people of Puerto Rico,” said Gov. Edwards.
The unit being deployed consists of building inspectors, plan reviewers, and Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) logistics specialists that will survey the area and assess the needs of the people. There are reportedly thousands of damaged buildings, and those buildings will need to be surveyed and repaired so they can be safely reoccupied.
The personnel from Louisiana leave for Puerto Rico Thursday, Feb. 6. They’re expected to be deployed 16 days.
“As we always say, when the call for help comes, the State Fire Marshal’s Office stands ready to answer. While this deployment is a little different than our usual USAR missions, it is even more so in our wheelhouse to assist because one of the main functions of the State Fire Marshal’s Office is to ensure the safety of commercial structures through the inspection process,” said State Fire Marshal Butch Browning. “Our team looks forward to helping Puerto Rico move into recovery mode with repair recommendations that meet the highest standards of fire safety from across the construction industry.”