STATEWIDE – When the National Guard is brought in, we usually think of hurricanes, flooding and power outages. Any huge natural disaster that shuts down a region. This time it’s a little different.
“In this case, one of the big differences is that it’s really the CDC that is the lead agency,” said Maine National Guard Maj. Gen. Douglas Farnham. “We’re really in support of them and Maine Emergency Management.”
Farnham said even though this crisis is different, the mission to help remains the same.
“One of the first calls we got was from Togus and the VA Hospital over there, asking for some help with a tent they could use for a triage site,” said Farham.
Last week other National Guard members assisted MEMA and the Maine CDC to help inventory medical supplies, including equipment for alternative care sites.
“CDC and MEMA have been working with some of the communities and hospital systems to determine what they need,” said Farnham. “Like I said, we’ve done some inventory and some planning, so we think that the next step is probably going to be establishing some of those sites going forward as the requests come in.”
President Trump approved a Federal Disaster Declaration for Maine over the weekend, but the Title 32 request is still under review. That request would allow the federal government to absorb the cost of actions taken by the Maine National Guard during this time.
Farnham said he expects that to pass any day now.
“But it really hasn’t prevented us from doing anything up to this point,” he said. “Everyone now has been able to do what has been asked in the state active-duty role and the regular status as federal employees.”