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Department of Justice

Office of Public Affairs
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Justice Department Provides Emergency Support for Maui First Responders

On Aug. 13, Emergency Support Function #13 (ESF #13) was activated to provide force protection for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Urban Search & Rescue teams, the Department of Health and Human Services Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team and to augment the Maui Police Department in the aftermath of the Hawaii wildfires.

More than 150 federal law enforcement officers from the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of the Interior, and the Department of the Treasury are assisting on the ground in Maui in support of ESF #13. Justice Department law enforcement personnel on the ground include personnel from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the U.S. Marshals Service. 

The FBI continues to assist in locating and identifying missing persons as well as helping identify the deceased. In addition, the Department has provided victim advocates, who are assisting at the Maui Family Assistance Center and the Maui PD Emergency Operations Center.

Since arriving on Maui, ESF #13 has:

  • Provided force protection for five Urban Search & Rescue teams from California, Indiana, Maryland, Nevada and Washington. The Urban Search & Rescue Teams also include 35 canine search teams specializing in human remains.
  • Provided force protection for the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team and the Victim Identification center, both of which are helping to positively identify the victims of this tragedy.
  • Provided augmentation to the Maui Police Department in performing normal patrol duties and securing of the Lahaina Wildfire disaster area.

In 2006, the Department of Justice was designated the lead coordinating department of ESF #13, and since 2008, ATF has been the lead coordinating agency of ESF #13. 

ESF #13’s mission is to provide federal public safety and security assistance to federal, state, local, territorial and tribal organizations overwhelmed by an actual or anticipated disaster or act of terrorism.

Such assistance includes, but is not limited to:

  • Public safety/security (force protection) for other federal ESFs and agencies, such as security for Disaster Medical Assistance Teams and Urban Search & Rescue teams.
  • Augment/supplement state, local, tribal and territorial law enforcement, for example by providing security for fuel escorts, sheltering operations or distribution centers. This may also include physical security of critical infrastructure or evacuated areas.

ESF #13 will stay on Maui until the mission is complete.


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