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IN DNR Officers prepare for hurricane relief

The weather continues to change in the south east parts of the United States. Florida and Georgia have been declared a state of emergency. There are parts of North and South Carolina in states of emergency too as they brace for the worst of Hurricane Matthew.

Indiana Conservation Officers in Michiana are prepared in case they are needed to help with relief efforts.

District 1 Officer Jonathon Boyd said North Carolina has already requested assistance. This basically means that local officers are packed, ready, and on standby to leave if they are needed.

If and when they go, they will respond to staging areas. They will travel from South Bend to Indianapolis then move toward the southeast. Officers will set up just outside the range of the hurricane so their equipment is in a safe place.

“It’s all part of a nationwide response. It’s just that we have a lot local resources here that the Indiana DNR can provide to assist our fellow agencies,” Boyd said.

Conservation officers are responsible for protecting Indiana's waterways. They are highly trained and experienced when it comes to water related incidents and disasters.

“When it comes to professionals that know what to do on or around the water or outdoors, our Conservation Officers are the best prepared,” Boyd added.

Being deployed to disaster areas is not new for officers. One of their biggest deployments was during the time of Hurricane Katrina.

When deployed, they pack enough resources to last about 10-14 days without having to be resupplied.

“We are very self-sufficient officers so if we send an officer to say North Carolina to a natural disaster, our officer can be very self-sufficient.”

District 1 is ready to send five teams of five officers per team whenever they are called to do so.

“Each officer on that team has a specific specialty so that team leader may have a special resource," said Boyd. All of the officers have knowledge in water rescue. A lot of their time is spent patrolling state waterways especially in the summer.

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