Butler County crews deploy to face Irma: What you need to know

Sixteen members of Butler County’s Incident Management Team, comprised of local fire and police departments, are deploying today to Florida to help with Hurricane Irma efforts.

Here’s what you should know:

1. Will local response times be impacted?

Some Butler County fire and police departments will “run lean” for the next few days because of Hurricane Irma, officials said.

West Chester Twp. Fire Chief Rick Prinz said he has two members going with the team. Their absences may be a burden on his department because they “run lean.”

2. The experience benefits us here

“We feel that the payback, the benefit outweighs the impact of those 10, 14 days,” Prinz said. “The training they receive while they’re down there, the experience they receive while they’re down there, is invaluable and they can return that to us so we can learn and use those skills in our own emergency operations center.”

3. Safety top of mind

Ross Twp. Fire Chief Steve Miller is part of the team heading south.

He said he’s not nervous for his or the team’s safety because they have a wealth of experience in dealing with disasters.

“We’ll be fine,” Miller said, adding that Butler County is one of only a few incident management teams credentialed in Ohio.

4. Team will provide support to state agency

Prinz said the team won’t be boots on the ground, so to speak, but giving support to the state agency in Florida managing the relief effort.

“It’s not hands on,” Prinz said. “They are in the emergency operations center and they manage the logistics, the fire operations, the EMS operations, the police operations, the engineering operations. They manage all those resources and talk to the state emergency operations center and all the local counties, to facilitate equipment, personnel and direct people to where they need to go.”

5. Butler County will be reimbursed by Florida

The Butler County Emergency Management Team plans to be in Florida for 15 days.

The state of Florida will reimburse the county for the cost, estimated at $15,000 a day, according to Butler County Emergency Management Agency Director Matt Haverkos.

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