WW Corps aids in hurricane recovery

Walla Walla Union-Bulletin

Sept. 28–Damage from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have drawn thousands of volunteers and experts to help Texas and Florida rebuild.

Among them are seven more Walla Walla District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employees who deployed recently to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s hurricane response and recovery efforts, Corps District emergency management officials said in a release.

Six of those most-recently deployed joined 11 other, previously deployed, emergency-power response team members from the District who were relocated from Hurricane Harvey missions in Texas to support Hurricane Irma missions in Florida.

The power team members include a mechanical engineer, an environmental resource specialist, an electrical engineer and a realty specialist, all from Walla Walla District headquarters; a power plant electrician from Lower Monumental Lock and Dam near Kahlotus, Wash.; and a maintenance worker from Little Goose Lock and Dam near Starbuck.

Additionally, a power plant electrician from Dworshak Dam and Reservoir near Ahsahka, Idaho, deployed with Omaha District’s temporary-roofing response team to support FEMA missions in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Walla Walla District maintains one of the Corps’ seven emergency power-response teams, ready to deploy as part of the Corps’ Emergency Support Function 3, public works and engineering-related support. Power team members directly support FEMA emergency management staging areas and operations centers, conducting assessments and installing generators to help get critical public facilities operational following disasters.

The all-volunteer teams can provide backup electrical power generation anywhere an emergency makes the service needed. Team members agree to be in an on-call status, ready to deploy on short-notice when disaster strikes.

The Corps is prepared and ready to respond to natural and human-made disasters. It has more than 50 specially trained response teams supported by emergency contracts to perform a wide range of public works and engineering-related support missions.

The Corps conducts its emergency response activities under the Flood Control and Coastal Emergency Act and mission-assigned by FEMA, under the Stafford Disaster and Emergency Assistance Act.

The Corps’ top priorities in disasters are to support immediate lifesaving and life-safety response priorities; sustain lives with critical commodities, temporary emergency power and other needs; and initiate recovery efforts by assessing and restoring critical infrastructure.

FEMA coordinates the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

For information about FEMA’s response to recent hurricane activity, see fema.gov.

Currently, the Corps has 50 open FEMA Mission Assignments, 15 of those for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Check out ubne.ws/2wY5IXK for more information about the Corps’ emergency management mission and roles in supporting national disasters.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Waterways Council, Inc.