WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Three U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District, employees departed Walla Walla for Aurora, Colo., today in response to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 8’s request for emergency power assistance, according to Corps emergency management officials.
Danielle Stephens, a structural engineer and the Walla Walla District’s Design Section chief, will serve as an action officer; Chad Rhynard, an electrical engineer and Electrical Engineering Section chief, will serve as a mission manager; and Katie Goodwin, an administrative officer for Plans, Programs and Project Management Division, will serve as a mission specialist. All three are Walla Walla residents and will be working in FEMA’s emergency operations center at Buckley Air Force Base to help coordinate emergency power support to areas impacted by recent severe flooding across the state.
The Walla Walla District maintains two of the Corps’ seven power teams, ready to deploy as part of the Corps’ Emergency Support Function (ESF) #3, public works and engineering-related support. 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 man-made disasters. When disasters occur, it is not just a local Corps district or office that responds. Personnel and other resources are mobilized across the country to carry out response missions. The command is part of the federal government’s unified national response to disasters and emergencies and is the designated lead for ESF #3, public works and engineering-related support. The Corps conducts its emergency response activities under two basic authorities – the Flood Control and Coastal Emergency Act, and when mission assigned by FEMA, under the Stafford Disaster and Emergency Assistance Act.
In any disaster, the Corps’ top priorities are 1) support immediate emergency 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. 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.