WEST BEND, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin National Guard says it's prepared to assist in the response to Hurricane Florence.

The Guard says four of its West Bend-based Blackhawk helicopters and around 24 crew members left Wisconsin on Friday for Maryland, where they'll stand by in case civil authorities request their help.

The Blackhawks are medivac helicopters with hoist and medical treatment capabilities.

The Wisconsin Guard says the deployment to Maryland pre-positions the helicopters and crew in the region while providing a training opportunity.

Gov. Scott Walker signed an order Friday authorizing the Guard to call troops to active duty and allow state workers who are Red Cross volunteers to take time off to assist.

The Defense Department says more than 7,000 National Guard and other troops from across the country are ready to assist.