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Sept. 9, 2017

Keith Stephens Chief of Communications

LITTLE ROCK – For the second time in as many weeks, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife officers have been asked to help with hurricane search and rescue. Later today, 28 AGFC wildlife officers will head to Florida to assist the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Irma.

Just over a week ago, 28 officers were deployed to the Texas gulf coast to help with the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. Several officers leaving on Saturday are the same officers that helped in Texas. They are expected to stage in Havana, Florida near Tallahassee. From there, they will receive orders on where they will be positioned in the Sunshine State. The officers are trained in various water rescue techniques and are expected to help rescue people left in the wake of the storm.

Officers will provide boats, ATVs and trailers to assist rescue operations. They expect to spend up to 10 days in the area before returning to Arkansas.

The group of wildlife officers is ready and willing to help another state deal with the potential damage caused by the massive hurricane, according to AGFC Enforcement Col. Greg Rae. "Unfortunately, our officers have received firsthand experience on what to do and ways to help. But we’re glad to do our part and help out another state. I’m sure if the roles were reversed, Florida would be one of the first states to help Arkansas deal with a natural disaster,” Rae said.

The officers were sent to the area at the request of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management. ADEM was contacted by the state of Florida for additional response help.