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State shifts personnel from Equestrian Games to hurricane response

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To provide more resources for Hurricane Florence response, state government agencies have dramatically reduced the personnel previously scheduled to support public safety, transportation and health-related matters at the World Equestrian Games taking place in Tryon. This international sporting event was anticipated to bring thousands of people to the state. The State Highway Patrol had already decreased its troop numbers deployed for the sporting event by more than half (60 percent) prior to the State of Emergency in expectation of Hurricane Florence.

"As part of normal protocol, we must remain flexible to appropriately prevent, protect and prepare for any event or disaster," Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks said in a news release. "The Highway Patrol, NC Emergency Management and the NC National Guard consistently evaluate circumstances and re-deploy members based on needs at any given time. We continuously evaluate all public safety and life safety needs across the entire state and determine where resources should go."

At the request of local officials with the Village of Tryon, NCEM had agreed to deploy five of its employees to provide support to the sporting event but has since scaled that number back to two. The NCNG dedicated approximately 25 soldiers to provide Civil Support, as well as Air Guard members to assist with aviation and communication needs.

More than 2,000 of NC National Guard members are deployed for Hurricane Florence with more on standby if needed.

State health resources are also being relocated from the games to bolster Hurricane Florence response. The Division of Public Health reduced its on-site presence at the World Equestrian Games but will continue to support local public health officials involved with the games remotely with any environmental health and communicable disease concerns. A mobile emergency department from the Office of Emergency Management was also recently returned and is now available to be deployed as part of Hurricane Florence response.

More information related to North Carolina’s storm preparations and response is available at https://www.ncdps.gov/florence.