Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) Three months after deploying to Florida, Missoula County on Tuesday recognized a local incident command team for their commitment to help residents recover from Hurricane Ian.

The state of Florida in September requested assistance in the wake of the deadly storm, and Missoula city and county emergency responders answered the call. Later that month, and again at the state's request, the team prolonged their stay in North Port to continue their work.

On Tuesday, Missoula County recognized each crew member with a certificate of appreciation.

“That utility that we've realized locally has been achieved through experiential training and assignments, and they've been able to take that across the country,” said Adrian Beck, the county's director of Disaster and Emergency Services. “The commitment they make and the time and effort they've put into creating those incident command systems is remarkable.”

North Port was heavily hit when Hurricane Ian rolled across Florida. The storm left the community inundated with floodwater, it's water system disabled and structured destroyed.

The Missoula team included an incident commander, a public information officer, a liaison officer, and operations, finance and logistics. Similar teams also have responded from Missoula to other incidents, both in Montana and afar.

In June, at the state's request, Missoula County deployed an incident command team to Carbon County to assist with the response and recovery to record-breaking flooding. That team included members of the Missoula Fire Department, Missoula Rural Fire, Frenchtown fire and expertise from the city's GIS department, along with county Public Works.

“We've worked really hard over the last seven years to build this capability and capacity within Missoula County so when bad things happen, we have that capability in-house to deploy an incident management team,” Beck said. “We're humbled when we can offer that assistance to other counties.”