By Guy Page
When thinking about federal government flood response, the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms probably isn’t the first federal agency that comes to mind.
Regardless, ATF has been in Vermont as part of the federal team following the July 10-11 flood. Two days ago, ATF issued a Facebook post explaining Emergency Support Function [ESF] #13 – in a nutshell, providing protection for search and rescue teams:
“In the aftermath of extreme weather systems and flooding, ATF’s ESF #13 personnel are managing force protection for Urban Search and Rescue teams in severely damaged areas of Vermont. ESF #13 personnel have established an incident command post and are coordinating search and rescue operations of Quick Response Teams comprised of ATF Special Agents and USAR Massachusetts Task Force I and New York Task Force I. “The federal government’s disaster response includes 15 various Emergency Support Functions. ESF #13, which ATF manages on behalf of the Department of Justice, coordinates the federal law enforcement response to any disaster requiring a FEMA response.
“More than 40 different federal law enforcement agencies participate in the program. When deployed, these teams of federal law enforcement officers set aside their agency’s organic mission and provide security and support to other responding ESFs or, when requested, local and state law enforcement. Learn more about ESF #13.”
ATF’s presence prompted several skeptical comments on a Vermont pro-2A Facebook page, including:
- “WTF do we need ATF for Vermont flood recovery. Can they run excavators? Dozers?”
- “Government is always the problem and not the solution. I’m not sure how search and rescue fits into ATF training. More like search and seizure.”
And this tongue-in-cheek response to an imagined ATF inquiry:
- “Sorry. Lost all my firearms in the flood.”