President Obama coordinates assistance for areas hit by Sandy Aaron Skolnik/FEMA

FEMA and Federal Partners Continue to Mobilize Resources to Help Speed Rescue and Recovery from Hurricane Sandy

At the direction of President Barack Obama, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is coordinating the federal government's assistance and preparations to support states affected by Hurricane Sandy. The president received a briefing on Hurricane Sandy in the White House Situation Room, including an update on the deployment of teams and resources to potentially affected areas by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and National Hurricane Center Director Richard Knabb.

“The emergency management team, comprised of federal, state, tribal and local governments, the private sector and voluntary and faith-based organizations are all engaged,” said Fugate. “Individuals need to stay safe, check on a neighbor and should follow the direction of state, tribal and local officials and continue to monitor NOAA weather radio and local news reports for the latest storm conditions.”

The president has authorized emergency declarations for Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, authorizing FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts to provide assistance for required emergency measures to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety.

Currently, more than 1,500 FEMA personnel are positioned along the East Coast working to support disaster preparedness and response operations, including search and rescue, situational awareness, communications and logistical support. In addition, 28 teams comprised of 294 FEMA Corps members are pre-staged to support Sandy. Three federal urban search and rescue task forces are positioned in the Mid-Atlantic and ready to deploy as needed and requested. An additional four federal search-and-rescue task forces in the Midwest have been placed on alert and are ready for deployment, as requested and needed.

Fourteen Incident Management Assistance Teams and 12 liaison officers are positioned in potentially affected states along the East Coast to support preparedness activities and ensure there are no unmet needs. Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) personnel and teams have been deployed to support the states with secure and non-secure voice, video and information services, operations, and logistics support to state response operations as well as with any potential requests for assistance. FEMA disability integration advisors also are deployed to advise emergency management on alert and warning, evacuation, and sheltering needs. 

At all times, FEMA maintains commodities, including millions of liters of water, millions of meals and hundreds of thousands of blankets, strategically located at distribution centers throughout the United States and its territories, including Atlanta, Ga. and Frederick, Md., if needed and requested. FEMA distribution centers have an overall inventory of more than 5 million liters of water, 3 million meals, 900,000 blankets and 100,000 cots. FEMA and the Department of Defense established Incident Support Bases in Westover, Mass. and Lakehurst, N.J., to pre-position supplies including water, meals, blankets and other resources closer to potentially impacted areas, should they be needed and requested by states.

The National Guard currently has more than 1,900 personnel on state active duty in states along the projected path of the storm, in preparation for potential missions. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) mobilized Temporary Emergency Power resources to be pre-staged at Incident Support Bases to support critical resources in affected areas. These resources consist of teams with technical expertise to assess critical facility generator requirements and private sector contract support to install and operate generators.

To support potential pre- and post-storm evacuations, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – through Emergency Support Function 8 – and FEMA have the capability to activate ambulance contracts to support state requirements to evacuate patients if needed and requested. At the request of the state, more than 139 ambulances are positioned in New York, and an additional 211 ambulances are being deployed to New York. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) personnel also are supporting health and human services needs in communities along the East Coast that may be impacted by Hurricane Sandy. More than 160 personnel are deployed as part of the state and federal efforts.

A 50-person Disaster Medical Assistance Team deployed to provide triage and basic care in two general population shelters in New Jersey. These medical providers will help ensure the shelter can meet the needs of residents seeking refuge there. Residents who require greater medical care can be transported to medical shelters or hospitals. An additional Disaster Medical Assistance Team remains pre-staged in the mid-Atlantic, prepared to deploy quickly along the East Coast if needed.

TAGS: Safety
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