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IMT teams tested by storm

When an emergency situation strikes, firefighters and other emergency management personnel are usually too busy helping citizens to have time to organize the effort.
In times like these, the Virginia Department of Forestry’s Incident Management Team (IMT) step up to the plate.
Four members of the Pulaski County IMT did just that in mid-December when emergency crews in the Lexington and Rockbridge County areas found themselves dealing with hundreds of motorists stranded in a massive snowstorm on Interstate 81.
Brad Wright said he and three other team members, Jordan Blouse, Brent Foltz and Douglas Benson, got a call Saturday night Dec. 19 to go to Rockbridge County’s Emergency Operations Center to help that area’s emergency manager organize and run the storm response efforts.
Wright said traffic had come to a halt on I-81 in that area and members of the Virginia National Guard, fire departments and rescue squads were in the process of rescuing stranded motorists from the interstate and back roads to area shelters.
The local team was released from their Rockbridge County duties on Monday, but then responded to Russell County to help out with its Emergency Operations Center.
“They had two shelters open with more than 100 people in them. There was no power in most of the county and the roads still weren’t open,” Wright said.
The IMT helped out by organizing forestry teams to help open roads and National Guard teams to evacuate people who could not stay at home and do well-being checks on others.
Due to the power outage there was concern about the safety of drinking water, so bottles of water had to be trucked in and distributed too.
The group finally completed its duties in time to return home on Christmas Eve night.
All four men have “extensive training” in incident management, said Wright, who serves as an incident commander. Blouse is in charge of logistics, Foltz handles operations and Benson is in charge of planning.

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IMT teams tested by storm

When an emergency situation strikes, firefighters and other emergency management personnel are usually too busy helping citizens to have time to organize the effort.
In times like these, the Virginia Department of Forestry’s Incident Management Team (IMT) step up to the plate.
Four members of the Pulaski County IMT did just that in mid-December when emergency crews in the Lexington and Rockbridge County areas found themselves dealing with hundreds of motorists stranded in a massive snowstorm on Interstate 81.
Brad Wright said he and three other team members, Jordan Blouse, Brent Foltz and Douglas Benson, got a call Saturday night Dec. 19 to go to Rockbridge County’s Emergency Operations Center to help that area’s emergency manager organize and run the storm response efforts.
Wright said traffic had come to a halt on I-81 in that area and members of the Virginia National Guard, fire departments and rescue squads were in the process of rescuing stranded motorists from the interstate and back roads to area shelters.
The local team was released from their Rockbridge County duties on Monday, but then responded to Russell County to help out with its Emergency Operations Center.
“They had two shelters open with more than 100 people in them. There was no power in most of the county and the roads still weren’t open,” Wright said.
The IMT helped out by organizing forestry teams to help open roads and National Guard teams to evacuate people who could not stay at home and do well-being checks on others.
Due to the power outage there was concern about the safety of drinking water, so bottles of water had to be trucked in and distributed too.
The group finally completed its duties in time to return home on Christmas Eve night.
All four men have “extensive training” in incident management, said Wright, who serves as an incident commander. Blouse is in charge of logistics, Foltz handles operations and Benson is in charge of planning.

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