In this 2016 photo, Maj. Gen. Michael Calhoun, the Adjutant General of Florida, listens closely to a brief. During Hurricane Katrina, General Calhoun served as deputy commander, Task Force (FL), in Mississippi.
In a message posted to the Guard’s Facebook wall this week, Maj. Gen Calhoun had this advice:
“As Hurricane Irma moves closer to our state, I truly hope that everyone takes Gov. Rick Scott’s call to action seriously. The men and women of your Florida National Guard are ready and prepared to respond – are you?
Make sure your family is prepared with enough food, water, and essential supplies for at least three days.
Have an evacuation plan – Where will you go? What is your route? Who will you keep updated?
Your preparedness ensures that your Guard personnel and equipment can respond where the need is the greatest. We will be there to help, but I ask that you help us by being as ready as we are. Check the Florida SERT and Get A Plan sites for up-to-date information from Gov. Scott. Stay safe, and take care of each other.”
A graduate of Florida A&M University, Major General Calhoun is the senior military advisor to the Governor, responsible for the overall management, readiness, and mobilization of both U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force elements of the Florida National Guard.
Earlier this week, Gov. Rick Scott activated about 100 members of the Florida Air and Army National Guard to begin preparations for Hurricane Irma. All 7,000 members reported for duty Friday morning.
“With Hurricane Irma now a category 5 storm, we must do all we can to prepare our families and communities for any potential impact from this major weather event,” Scott said in a statement. “We do not know the exact path of this storm, but weather can change in an instant and while we hope for the best, we must prepare for the worst.”
A state of emergency has been declared in all of Florida’s 67 counties, which allowed for the immediate activation for the Guard in preparation for the storm.
To ensure the Florida National Guard stays in the forefront of disaster management and preparedness, the guard works hand in hand with FEMA on emergency operations.