Nisswa resident and Brainerd Fire Chief Tim Holmes heads to Florida to help with hurricane recovery
Brainerd Fire Chief Tim Holmes, of Nisswa, is in Florida to help with the emergency management response to Hurricane Irma.
Gov. Mark Dayton on Friday, Sept. 8, authorized a team of 16 Minnesota emergency management professionals to leave for Florida. The Minnesota All Hazard Incident Management Team will be deployed to Florida until Sept. 25.
Holmes, a member of the team and a former Nisswa police officer and sergeant, said he was notified earlier last week that he would be sent to Florida to help. The team includes fire chiefs, emergency managers and fire service personnel with advanced incident management training, he said.
Holmes applied to be on the team because it’s a great opportunity to help out other communities when disaster strikes, he said. The team responds to national and more local events, if the help is requested, and supplements emergency management efforts when local resources are exhausted, he said.
“The team just comes in and supports the local efforts,” Holmes said. “It’s not a team that would come and take over an incident. It’s designed more to support the local efforts until they can get back on their feet.”
Dayton approved a request for assistance through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact for a Type III Incident Management Team to help with response and recovery efforts. The Emergency Management Assistance Compact is a mutual aid agreement between all 50 states. It’s a give and take, Holmes said.
“We’re going to go help someone else and in turn, if we had a major event, they’re going to turn around and help us,” Holmes said.
The team was initially deployed to the Tallahassee area. After a brief stop in Birmingham, Alabama, while Hurricane Irma made landfall, the team was redirected to Marathon Key in Monroe County. Their mission is to report to Monroe County Emergency Operations Center and support as needed. According to a team member, there were few reports out of this area, so they expected to know more when they arrived and could evaluate the needs.
The team member reported that spirits are high knowing that they are helping their fellow Americans, and they truly appreciate the opportunity their agencies have given them by allowing them to do this work.
This is the first time Holmes has responded to an emergency outside the state, he said last week. He has been a part of the team for about eight months. The group meets and trains quarterly, he said, so the members are well-trained and well-versed in emergency management.
“This experience allows me to get hands-on experience and build on the knowledge and skills I have, in the event we have something like this in our community,” Holmes said.