Gov. John Bel Edwards has approved the deployment of more than 20 State Fire Marshal deputies and personnel to assist Puerto Rico in its recovery efforts following recent earthquakes there. This comes at the request of Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced.

“We have our fair share of natural disasters in Louisiana, and because of our experience with destruction and devastation, our first responders are second to none,” Gov. Edwards said. “Helping one another in a time of need is a Louisiana value, and we are grateful for these 23 first responders who are volunteering their time and skills to assist the people of Puerto Rico.”

The unit deploying consists of 23 deputies and personnel including building inspectors, plan reviewers and Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) logistics specialists that will survey and assess the thousands of damaged buildings to determine their status and repair needs in order to be safely reoccupied. 

The unit will depart for Puerto Rico early Thursday morning, February 6. The mission is anticipated to last 16 days.

"As we always say, when the call for help comes, the State Fire Marshal’s Office stands ready to answer,” said State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning. “While this deployment is a little different than our usual USAR missions, it is even more so in our wheelhouse to assist because one of the main functions of the State Fire Marshal’s Office is to ensure the safety of commercial structures through the inspection process."

“Our team looks forward to helping Puerto Rico move into recovery mode with repair recommendations that meet the highest standards of fire safety from across the construction industry.”