090917-wsj-news-irma4 (copy)

Customers at a Home Depot in South Miami Dade buy building materials Friday to secure their property in anticipation of Hurricane Irma. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker authorized the state's National Guard to assist in relief efforts if needed.

Gaston De Cardenas, Associated Press

As Hurricane Irma ravishes the Caribbean and makes its way toward the Florida coast, Gov. Scott Walker on Friday authorized the Wisconsin National Guard to assist in relief efforts in Florida if needed.

Walker signed an executive order that allows Wisconsin's Adjutant General, Major General Donald Dunbar, to call personnel of the state's National Guard to active duty. 

"We stand ready to help our friends in Florida who are bracing for Hurricane Irma, one of the strongest Atlantic Ocean storms on record," Walker said in a statement. "I thank Maj. Gen. Dunbar and the men and women of the Wisconsin National Guard for their readiness and willingness to assist in response efforts."

State agencies were also authorized to grant up to 30 days of paid leave to permanent state employees who are certified Red Cross disaster relief volunteers to aid relief efforts in Florida, Texas and Louisiana at the written request of the American Red Cross. 

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Shelley K. Mesch is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal. She earned a degree in journalism from DePaul University.