17-119 Walla Walla District employees deploy to support FEMA’s hurricane-response missions

Published Nov. 21, 2017
WALLA WALLA, Wash. – During the span of about three months, dozens of employee-volunteers from throughout the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Walla Walla District deployed in response to Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) requests for support to hurricane-recovery efforts in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, Saint Thomas, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Saint Croix, according to District emergency management officials.

During the past week, the District’s 18-member all-volunteer emergency power response team (PRT) arrived at various locations in the U.S. territories’ storm-ravaged islands to help restore power. This is the District PRT’s third FEMA-requested mission since Hurricane Harvey struck Texas in late-August. From there, team members deployed to support Hurricane Irma power-response efforts in Florida Sept. 10, before returning to the Walla Walla District in late-September.

Fourteen other employee-volunteers from the Walla Walla District are also currently deployed to support hurricane-recovery missions, including temporary roofing and housing experts, safety and health specialists, electronics and power plant technical experts. Almost 90 FEMA-requested hurricane-related deployment positions, nicknamed “taskers,” have been filled by District volunteers during the past 12 weeks – 10 of those positions are currently filled by employees who volunteered to serve on repeat deployments after a short break at home.

For more information about the Corps’ ongoing hurricane-response missions in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, visit http://www.usace.army.mil/Hurricane-Irma/.

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 all-volunteer teams, along with soldiers from the 249th Engineer Battalion, 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 hurricane response and recovery efforts, visit their website https://www.fema.gov/. Check out http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Emergency-Operations/ for more information about the Corps of Engineers’ emergency management mission and roles in supporting national disasters.

Public Affairs Office

Release no. 17-119