Wisconsin National Guard ready to help in hurricane response

A car drives though rising floodwaters at an intersection near the beach as Hurricane Florence makes landfall on September 14, 2018 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. - Florence smashed into the US East Coast Friday with howling winds, torrential rains and life-threatening storm surges as emergency crews scrambled to rescue hundreds of people stranded in their homes by flood waters. Forecasters warned of catastrophic flooding and other mayhem from the monster storm, which is only Category 1 but physically sprawling and dangerous. (Photo by Alex Edelman / AFP)

WEST BEND — The Wisconsin National Guard says it’s prepared to assist in the response to Hurricane Florence.

The Guard says four of its West Bend-based Blackhawk helicopters and around 24 crew members left Wisconsin on Friday for Maryland, where they’ll stand by in case civil authorities request their help.

The Blackhawks are medivac helicopters with hoist and medical treatment capabilities.

The Wisconsin Guard says the deployment to Maryland pre-positions the helicopters and crew in the region while providing a training opportunity.

Gov. Scott Walker signed an order Friday authorizing the Guard to call troops to active duty and allow state workers who are Red Cross volunteers to take time off to assist.

The Defense Department says more than 7,000 National Guard and other troops from across the country are ready to assist.