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Homeland Security

EPLO assisting relief efforts after Massachusetts tornadoes

by Angela Pope
AFNORTH Public Affairs

6/2/2011 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) -- At least two tornadoes struck parts of central and western Massachusetts June 1, prompting the Air Forces Northern National Security Emergency Preparedness Directorate to deploy an emergency preparedness liaison officer to assist in the relief effort at the request of the defense coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Region I.

The EPLO's skills, experience and knowledge of U.S. Air Force capabilities will assist in determining the right resources if Department of Defense assets are requested by civilian authorities to support the response within the stricken areas, officials said.

"The Northeast is more accustomed to dealing with harsh winters than deadly tornadoes," said Rodney Simmons, the NSEP director. "Emergency officials in Massachusetts are prepared for disasters like this, but it's not very common they have to exercise this portion of their emergency response plan. Our EPLOs are standing by, ready to provide any additional resources the local and state officials may need to expedite the recovery efforts."

In addition to the EPLO deployed to Massachusetts, NSEP currently has EPLOs deployed to Louisiana and South Dakota to aid in flood response efforts.

Air Force EPLOs are senior Air Force Reserve officers who are subject-matter experts in state and regional disaster response plans, advising states and regions on Air Force capabilities that may be used during disaster responses.

EPLOs are geographically assigned to each state and the 10 FEMA Regional Response Coordination Centers. The officers come from a wide range of career fields including air operations, logistics, medical, security forces and public affairs.

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