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Why wasn't the Virginia National Guard called in for the I-95 disaster?

People got stuck on the highway for 24 hours. Would the National Guard have been able to help?

WASHINGTON — When it comes to the I-95 traffic fiasco there are a lot of questions about what happened. One that keeps popping up is: Should the governor have called in the National Guard?

When we think of disasters, the National Guard usually comes up. With thousands of people trapped on I-95 during the snowstorm, social media started questioning how the situation was being handled.

Facebook comments and tweets with thousands of likes and retweets asked why the National Guard wasn’t called in.

Like a tweet that read: “Where is the national guard? It’s cold, people don’t have food or water and only limited fuel.”

Others asked why those items weren’t being air-dropped in.


What would need to happen to call in the National Guard? And what can they do to help?


The Virginia National Guard.


What would need to happen to call in the National Guard for an emergency?

The main way is that a Virginia locality requests assistance. The governor then calls a state of emergency and deploys the guard.

A spokesperson for the Virginia National Guard told us it would then take 12 to 24 hours to bring them on duty.

Next, let’s Verify what the Virginia National Guard can and can’t do in a situation like this.

According to a Virginia Guard spokesperson: They can, and have, helped transport first responders through heavy snow.

They may have been able to go car to car to provide health and welfare checks. But the Virginia National Guard doesn’t have the resources to clear vehicles.

They CANNOT plow or clear snow. They have limited ability to pull stuck cars out of the snow.

A spokesperson said that is because they only have two recovery wreckers in the area.

Finally, a spokesperson added the Guard currently has “very limited aviation capabilities,” so air-lifting things like gas, food or water would not have been possible.

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