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Initial wave of first responders depart from FAMU’s Lawson Center

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The arena inside the Lawson Center at Florida A&M University was quiet Wednesday afternoon following the departure of a few hundred first responders who had set up housing there since Saturday night and staged vehicles at Bragg Stadium.

Several cots remained on the arena floor while scores more were already folded and stacked against the walls.

The university had prepared Friday for the initial arrival of first responders Saturday evening from around the country.

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Several thousand response teams, as well as well as FEMA employees from throughout the country have traveled to Florida to assist.

The University of Central Florida and Florida Gulf Coast University hosted National Guard units, and Florida State University provided space for FEMA.

FEMA began using the exhibition hall and meeting rooms at the Tucker Center on Friday and will continue until Sept. 25.

The exhibition hall is being used as a large-scale receiving area of FEMA staff and a support center for different departments, totaling approximately 150 staff members, that are remotely assisting with the storm relief efforts.

The meeting rooms are being used as a sleeping area for approximately 200 FEMA staff that are being sent to south Florida to start the relief process.

FAMU provided space at the request of the Board of Governors.

“From serving as shelters to hosting FEMA or the National Guard, Florida’s public universities mobilized quickly to help their students and communities safely navigate Hurricane Irma. Individual students and staff also stepped up by volunteering for the Red Cross and organizing clean-up efforts after the storm,” Chancellor Marshall Criser III said Wednesday.

“Over the past week, our campuses have served as hubs to support not only our students, but people all over Florida.”

Contact senior writer Byron Dobson at bdobson@tallahassee.com or on Twitter @byrondobson.

Read or Share this story: http://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2017/09/13/initial-wave-first-responders-depart-famus-lawson-center/664073001/


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