WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WLTX) -- The United States' Department of Defense's Federal Coordination Center (FCC) and the South Carolina Forestry Commission's Incident Management Team are coordinating the arrival of patients that were evacuated from hospitals in the Caribbean from Hurricane Maria.

Personnel from local, state, and military agencies and 11 area healthcare facilities spent Sunday preparing for the unknown amount of patients coming to South Carolina. The Forestry Commission said military aircraft will bring the patients to the Columbia airport. It has not been announced exactly when they will come, but responders have been told to be ready as soon as possible.

The entire effort is being led by the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS), which helps coordinate government, non-profit, and medical emergency resources in response to natural disasters. It is activated when an incident is so large it overwhelms local agencies.

The Forestry Commission said it is the first time in United States' history that a Department of Defense staffed FCC has been activated.