SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – The 178th Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard has been helping with Florence remotely since the storm hit last Friday.
From right here at their Springfield base, the 178th Wing’s Incident and Awareness Team was able to capture images of a tornado in Myrtle Beach as well as flooded areas across the East Coast before passing it along to emergency responders on the ground.
“We’re trying to help them find people that are trapped and who need to be rescued, and areas that need to be evacuated for emergent flooding and stuff,” said Lt. Col. Kim Fitzgerald, Vice Commander of the 178th Wing.
The team monitors devastated areas using commercial and public record satellite images from different ways like traffic and billboard cameras, and aircraft flying overhead, and relay their findings to ground commanders.
“It shows which roads are passable and impassable and help people to get in and save lives, and also to help save infrastructure,” said Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald said this is not the first natural disaster they have been called in to assist with because this technology is unique to the Guard.
“We have these capabilities that we train for from the national perspective to help in a wartime scenario but it can also be used in a state and local emergency,” said Fitzgerald.
She added this team is one of less than a dozen across the United States with this technology and capability.