Hawaii National Guard Deployed to Assist with Volcano Response

After a mandatory evacuation was ordered due to lava flows, residents line up in their cars on May 4 in Pahoa, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
After a mandatory evacuation was ordered due to lava flows, residents line up in their cars on May 4 in Pahoa, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

About 70 Hawaii National Guard soldiers and airmen joined volcano response efforts on Friday, after being activated by Gov. David Ige. The citizen soldiers are supporting Hawaii County Civil Defense.

Hawaii Guard personnel "are assisting Hawaii County with evacuations of residents, security of the neighborhoods and the monitoring of dangerous sulfur dioxide gas," the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency said.

The personnel are in full uniform and using military vehicles as they patrol and assist with evacuation and security in Puna. Residents may see also checkpoints assisting the Hawaii Police Department or on patrols in specific neighborhoods.

Leilani Estates in lower Puna is under a mandatory evacuation order as it is beset by lava outbreaks and major quakes, including one of magnitude 6.9.

"Because there have been reports during previous events of civilians wearing camouflage and impersonating military members to gain access to evacuated homes, the Hawaii National Guard is reminding the public that soldiers and airmen will be in military vehicles and carrying their military IDs," HI-EMA said. "If there is a question at any time whether or not a person is with the Hawaii National Guard, look for their vehicle and ask to see their military ID."

The 93rd Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team, a 22-person unit that specializes in chemical and biological response and detection, will be assisting Hawaii Civil Defense. The 93rd sent six members to Hawaii Island in response to sulfur dioxide near the fissures.

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This article is written by William Cole from The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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