Thousands of Florida National Guard troops ready to respond to Hurricane Ian
Driving the news: Hurricane Ian is on the verge of becoming a Category 5 storm ahead of its expected landfall along Florida's west coast on Wednesday. Weather officials predict catastrophic storm surges, rain and flooding.
The details: Florida National Guard members and equipment have been staged at armories and bases, per a news release.
- The Guard has 16 helicopters, 1,640 high-wheeled vehicles, seven boats, 36 fuel tankers and generators to conduct search and rescue operations, clear roads and assist law enforcement.
- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday at a news briefing that nearly 250 aircraft, more than 1,600 high water vehicles and over 300 boats are also on standby.
- Around 2,000 Guardsmen from Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina are also on standby to help.
- Guard members are prepared to give out food and water at multiple distribution points.
- A satellite system has also been put in place to provide voice, video and data communications in case of infrastructure damage, according to a tweet.
What they're saying: "The biggest thing we're worried about is people following their local guidance so we can reduce the number of victims," Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said in a statement. "Our focus is saving lives and (to) get people out of situations that may be potentially life-threatening."
Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional information provided by Florida's governor.