PA National Guard ready to help during aftermath of Hurricane Florence

EAST HANOVER TOWNSHIP, LEBANON COUNTY, Pa. --- The Pennsylvania National Guard currently has more than 25 members and four helicopters down near Columbia, South Carolina.

They deployed Thursday in preparation to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

Brigadier General David Wood, director of the joint staff with the Pennsylvania National Guard, said they've been tracking the hurricane for the last five or six days.

"[They're} basically just hunkering down through the weather system. As soon as the weather goes by, then they will be ready to go to perform immediate response type of actions," said Brig. Gen. Wood.

He explained their first focus will be life-saving efforts, including transport and help to people who are stuck or injured.

They will then move to support missions, such as providing food and water or helping damaged buildings or structures.

"All of us are trained to do this and when we're called to these types of events, we're eager and willing to do so," said Brig. Gen. Wood.

Back at Fort Indiantown Gap, they have eyes from Pennsylvania at the Emergency Joint Operations Center.

"We provide what's called mission command for all Pennsylvania guardsmen who are working on this hurricane event, both within the state and outside of the state," said Wood.

He also said there are roughly 50 soldiers and airmen still in the commonwealth, preparing vehicles and aircraft in case they, too, have to head south.

"The motto in the guard is always ready, always there," said Wood.

Wood said there are timetables in place for how long Pennsylvania guardsmen will be out in the commonwealth but they will be there as long as they are needed.