New Jersey state troopers join Puerto Rico hurricane recovery efforts

View of a house that was washed away by Hurricane Fiona at Villa Esperanza in Salinas, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, September 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Alejandro Granadillo)

View of a house that was washed away by Hurricane Fiona at Villa Esperanza in Salinas, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, September 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Alejandro Granadillo)

The Emergency Management Assistance Compact allows states and territories to share resources following natural disasters.

Under that agreement, New Jersey is sending 74 state troopers, a doctor, and 12 members of the state’s All-Hazards Incident Management Team to help residents in Puerto Rico.

“Our hearts and prayers are with the people of Puerto Rico during this devastating time,” said Gov. Phil Murphy in a statement. “New Jersey knows all too well the devastating effects hurricanes can bring to communities and we will do what we can to support Puerto Rico in its time of need.”

The state troopers will be deployed to the town of Vega Baja on the north side of the island west of San Juan. The all-hazards team, made up of workers from several state agencies, will work directly with FEMA crews already on the ground.

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The effort makes good on a promise that police made to island residents and officials after helping the island recover from Hurricane Maria in 2017 and an earthquake in 2020.

“We made a vow to local officials and residents that should they ever need us again, we would be there. Today, we are once again making good on that promise,” said Col. Patrick Callahan, State Police superintendent. “The men and women of the New Jersey State Police are well trained and fully prepared to render assistance to those in need far beyond the borders of this state.”

Fiona hit Puerto Rico on Sunday as a Category 1 storm, dumping more than 20 inches of rain, and causing widespread flooding and power outages.

Members of Pennsylvania Task Force-1 traveled to Puerto Rico earlier this week as part of the National Urban Search and Rescue Response System, a federal resource that can quickly be mobilized to anywhere in the country.

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