CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The Virginia National Guard is planning to initially bring up to 1,500 Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force on state active duty for possible assistance with the state's response operations for Hurricane Florence. Gov. Ralph Northam has authorized up to 6,000 personnel for response operations and those individuals are alerted and on standby.

Potential missions for the VNG include high water transportation, debris reduction, commodity distribution, shelter management assistance and rotary wing aviation search and rescue.

The VNG plans to stage personnel at readiness centers in key locations throughout the commonwealth in order to be ready to rapidly respond if needed. The alert process to notify personnel to report for duty has begun, and they are scheduled to be in place by early afternoon on Wednesday and ready to provide support.

The key to being able to rapidly respond is staging personnel and resources in strategic locations before the severe weather hits so they can quickly respond to assist communities if they are impacted by the severe weather from Hurricane Florence," said Brig. Gen. James Ring, Virginia National Guard director of the joint staff.

During domestic operations, the VNG receives missions through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and responds as part of a multi-agency team with the Virginia State Police, the Virginia Department of Transportation and other state and local emergency response organizations to provide support capabilities to communities in need. The VNG is not able to respond to direct support requests from the public. People in need should call 911 and not the VNG directly.

Additional Soldiers, Airmen and VDF members will be on duty in Richmond and Fort Pickett to provide mission command, logistics, administrative and public information support.

Since January 2014, the VNG has mobilized nearly 2,570 personnel on state active duty to respond to hurricanes, winter storms and flooding.