Santa Rosa to assist hurricane victims

Three of Santa Rosa County’s emergency responders have headed into the path of hurricane Matthew to provide support to Flagler County in their time of need.

Emergency Management Director Brad Baker, emergency Operations Section Chief Tom Lloyd and Midway Fire Chief Jonathan Kanzigg will assist Flagler in their emergency response to hurricane Matthew as the category 4 hurricane batters Florida’s eastern coast in the coming days.

The three left early in the morning Thursday, Oct. 6, for the east coast county, just north of Daytona Beach, to assist the incident management team there. Teams all over the state are being mobilized to areas that will be affected as part of the state’s emergency response.

County Public Information Officer Brandi Whitehurst said they were well prepared to help Flagler County out.

“Flagler requested some additional assistance, and our guys are well trained in this,” she said. “It’s common for counties to provide mutual aid to each other either before or after a storm.”

As the men traveled eastward they encountered heavy traffic fleeing away from the storm in the opposite direction.

Baker said Santa Rosa has had its fair share of hurricanes over the years, but Flagler has not had a major storm in years.

“We will take our training and help them get through this,” he said. “They have not had a significant one in quite a while, and what we understand is that they have some staff there that have never been through a hurricane.”

Hurricane Matthew is projected to strike Flagler County Friday, Oct. 7, as a category 4 with winds of 145 miles per hour, and mandatory evacuations have been issued for parts of the county.

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