National Guard feels shutdown effects

October 4, 2013 5:06:16 AM PDT
More than 950 national guardsmen in North Carolina are feeling the effects of the federal government shutdown. Not only are the furloughs leaving them without pay, it could make us less prepared if a natural disaster hits.

Basically it means some guard members are being told not to report to work at armories around the state and not to attend drill over the weekend. That means they're not getting paid, and it means they are not on hand should their services be needed.

Should severe weather or any other disaster strike our state in the immediate future, our national guard will now have fewer guardsmen to respond. A spokesperson for the guard confirmed that close to 960 national guardsmen from our state are being furloughed, including 433 from the Raleigh-Durham area.  

So how will this impact disaster preparedness in the state? ABC11 posed that question to Secretary of Public Safety Frank Perry. He said out of more than 11,000 guardsmen, the furloughs primarily include technicians and maintenance workers. Perry says he's been assured by the National Guard that they are still prepared to handle any emergencies.

"They had to make a decision about maintenance and of course that's one of the components of readiness, but as of right now the choppers and Humvees and 6x6s and all of that, those are ready to go," said Perry.

The spokesman for the National Guard declined to go on camera, saying they would not be doing any on camera interviews until Monday.

They say they're holding off partially to allow furloughed members time to process this news, and also they're hoping the government shutdown will end by then.

Meanwhile, FEMA has announced that it's recalling some furloughed workers in Gulf States in order to help prepare for Tropical Storm Karen.

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