(STMW) — Illinois National Guard soldiers have been activated and sent to downstate Marion to help with the response to flooding as a precautionary measure.

About 20 soldiers from the 2-130th Infantry Battalion, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team were ordered to report to the Illinois Army National Guard’s Marion Readiness Center on New Year’s Day, according to a statement from Governor Bruce Rauner’s office.

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The soldiers will be ready to assist local authorities to secure flooded areas and check on residents, and even help evacuate if needed. A Blackhawk helicopter with hoist capability was also placed on standby.

“Local communities continue to battle rising flood waters and the state stands ready to assist as needed,” Rauner said in the release.

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“Activating these Illinois National Guard Soldiers is a prudent step should they be needed at a moment’s notice by local communities as flood waters are expected to continue to rise in some areas through the weekend.”

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2016. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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