Each year, the Charleston and Albuquerque districts trade off the lead of the Corps’ National Ice Team mission. This year, the lead transferred back to Charleston during a ceremony April 2, where ice was symbolically handed from Albuquerque to Charleston via a video teleconference.
“Last year there were 20 tropical cyclones, 19 tropical storms and seven hurricanes, with four of the seven qualifying as major hurricanes, yet there was only one activation for the ice mission from Albuquerque District,” said Emergency Operations Chief Russ Jaramillo. “Although it was basically a non-deployment year, the team stood ready and underwent considerable preparation, planning, training and maintenance to be ready to leave with little notice, which is impressive considering the team is staffed entirely by volunteers.”
The federal government’s emergency response kicks in when incidents or disasters completely overwhelm local governments. At that point, it is up to a state’s governor to ask for the federal government’s help.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has the responsibility of coordinating government-wide relief efforts. FEMA uses the National Response Framework (NRF) to facilitate a unified national response to disasters. Under the NRF, there are 15 Emergency Support Functions with listed protocols. ESF #3, Public Works and Engineering, covers the Corps’ emergency response actions, including providing ice.
The Corps executes emergency response activities under two authorities, the Stafford Act and the Flood Control and Coastal Emergency Act.