17-097 Walla Walla District deploys emergency power team to support FEMA’s hurricane-response mission in Texas

Published Aug. 31, 2017
WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Eleven U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Walla Walla District employees are deploying to Texas in response to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) request for emergency-power assistance to support Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts, according to District emergency management officials.

Yesterday, the District Headquarters in Walla Walla, Washington, deployed a Hydrology and Hydraulics Branch civil engineer to Dallas, Texas, to support the Corps’ Southwestern Division Emergency Operation Center as a water-management subject matter expert.

Upon arrival at FEMA’s emergency operations center in Austin, Texas: a supervisory electrical engineer from Lower Granite Lock and Dam near Pomeroy, Washington, will serve as an action officer; and a contracting officer from the District Headquarters will serve as a mission specialist.

Other Walla Walla District deployees will augment the Corps’ Prime Power Planning and Response mission at FEMA’s Incident Support Base, located at Randolph Air Force Base’s Auxiliary Field near San Antonio, Texas. Jean DesJarlais, the District emergency power-response team lead and hydropower business line manager will serve as mission manager. An Engineering and Construction Division administrative officer and a cost engineer, both from the District Headquarters, will serve as mission specialists. A maintenance control specialist from Lower Granite Lock and Dam, will serve as a logistics specialist. A contract specialist from the District Headquarters will provide contracting support for the team. A power plant electrical foreman from Ice Harbor Lock and Dam near Burbank, Washington, will serve as the quality-assurance lead for the team. Deploying to serve as quality-assurance specialists -- a project engineer/contracting officer representative from Ice Harbor Lock and Dam, a power plant electrician from Little Goose Lock and Dam near Starbuck, Washington, and a maintenance worker from Mill Creek Dam and Bennington Lake in Walla Walla.

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 (ESF) #3, public works and engineering-related support. The Corps’ emergency power teams, along with soldiers from the 249th Engineer Battalion, are conducting assessments and installing generators to assist with getting critical public facilities operational in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

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. Power team members directly support FEMA emergency management staging areas and operations centers.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is prepared and ready to respond to natural and human-made disasters. When disasters occur, Corps teams and other resources are mobilized from across the country to assist our local districts and offices to deliver our response missions. The Corps is part of the federal government’s unified national response to disasters and emergencies, and serves as the lead agency to respond with public works and engineering support, and to coordinate long-term infrastructure recovery. The Corps conducts its emergency response activities under two basic authorities – the Flood Control and Coastal Emergency Act, and mission-assigned by FEMA, under the Stafford Disaster and Emergency Assistance Act.

In any disaster, the Corps’ top priorities are 1) support immediate life-saving and life-safety response priorities; 2) sustain lives with critical commodities, temporary emergency power and other needs; and 3) 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 Hurricane Harvey, visit their website https://www.fema.gov/hurricane-harvey. Check out http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/EmergencyOperations.aspx for more information about the Corps of Engineers’ emergency management mission and roles in supporting national disasters.

Public Affairs Office

Release no. 17-097