The employees of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers took action in anticipation of Hurricane Irene’s landfall by monitoring storm activity, taking measures to minimize flood damage and pre-positioning its trained responders.
The Corps of Engineers is part of the federal government’s unified national response to disasters and emergencies. The Corps assists the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) by coordinating and organizing public works and engineering-related support. The Corps has more than 40 specially trained response teams ready to perform a wide range of missions, as assigned by FEMA. In any disaster, our three top priorities are to: support immediate emergency response priorities; sustain lives with critical commodities, temporary emergency power and other needs; and, initiate recovery efforts by assessing and restoring critical infrastructure.
The Corps deployed members of its 249th Engineering Battalion (Prime Power) to assess power needs in Puerto Rico, as a result of Hurricane Irene making landfall there. The Corps also prepositioned team leaders up and down the eastern seaboard who would support debris removal, emergency roofing, housing, commodities to include water and ice, infrastructure assessment and emergency power.
When a disaster occurs, it is not just a local Corps district or office responding. Personnel and other resources are mobilized across the Corps’ 45 districts and nine divisions throughout the country to carry out response missions. Thus far in 2011, more than 1,000 Corps employees have responded to one or more major disasters as a result of floods and severe storms. All of the planning, equipment and programs are vital, but it is the competent, disciplined and resilient people who successfully accomplish the Corps’ disaster response missions.