WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — This week, tornadoes are expected to threaten lives and property throughout the nation’s midsection. In the Midwest and South, rivers are overflowing due to heavy rains. Hurricane season officially begins on Saturday.
And wildfire season is just around the corner. America’s National Guard faces a daunting task ahead. Some men and women of the Guard are already in the field standing by for the inevitable call to duty in the wake of the nation’s natural disasters.
Corporal Stephen Wright and teams in Arkansas are helping with water rescues as the state deals with record flooding.
“When we get called up for stuff like this, it’s a moment’s notice, and we have to pick our stuff and we have to leave,” Wright said.
Nationwide, guardsmen are gearing up for disasters to come, including hurricane season, which begins June 1.
“These are catastrophic weather events that we take very seriously” said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey W. Burkett , Vice Director of Domestic Operations National Guard Bureau.
Brigadier General Jeffrey Burkett said the Guard has been working closely with federal, state and local agencies to improve its response efforts this year. He said that includes local training exercises as a way to test preparedness and make improvements before disasters hit.
Today thousands of guardsmen and women are already deployed for operations across the United States, including securing the southern border and assisting with other national emergencies.
“We are not concerned about being stretched too thin. We have lots of resources inside the Guard and inside DoD,” said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey W. Burkett.
Burkett said the Guard has also taken steps to improve coordination and to streamline movement of resources between states. Officials said they’re expecting a near normal hurricane season and are preparing to assist where ever and whenever they’re needed.