In the devastating wake of Hurricane Michael, Melaleuca delivered a dozen chainsaws, a dozen generators and other critical supplies to the Florida Panhandle. The equipment fulfilled the specific request of police and firefighters who are on the ground in the Gulf Coast.
Following the storm’s dissipation, a 10-person All Hazards Incident Management Team from eastern Idaho was dispatched to Bay County, Florida, to assist with recovery efforts. Their specific mission is to manage a shelter base camp for roughly 1,000 first responders near Panama City, Florida.
The management team is made up of emergency responders from Idaho Falls Police and Fire Departments, Jefferson County Emergency Management, Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office, and the Idaho Office of Emergency Management. After arriving on scene and surveying the damage, the crew identified their top priority—clearing a swath of flattened pine trees and downed power lines left in Michael’s wake.
“Everywhere you look, massive pine trees have fallen from the storm— miles of trees snapped entirely in half,” said Idaho Falls Fire Public Information Officer Kerry Hammon, who is also a member of Idaho’s Region 3 Incident Management Team deployed to assist with the recovery efforts in Bay County, Florida. “The trees and other flying debris ripped down power lines and blocked roads, creating a very hazardous environment and making communication and recovery efforts challenging. When Melaleuca reached out and asked what we needed, the answer was clear: tools to help clear debris and provide emergency responders with power.”
Within hours of the request, Melaleuca had a truck loaded with chainsaws, extra chains, portable generators, engine oil, gas cans and other equipment en route to Florida. Melaleuca’s donation was quickly distributed to firefighters and emergency responders working in the hardest-hit areas of the Gulf Coast.
Hurricane Michael made landfall on October 10 as the strongest storm on record in the Florida Panhandle. It has resulted in at least 54 deaths, caused extensive flooding in the U.S. Gulf Coast and Central America, and destroyed over $3.7 billion in crops and timber alone.