Several major hurricanes have made landfall in the United States and its territories in the past year, and many people are surprised that U.S. Army Corps of Engineers staff at Allatoona Lake often are deployed to assist the Corps Emergency Support Mission.
Each year, the Corps sends hundreds of people to respond to disasters around the world. 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 our response missions.
Under the National Response Framework, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is assigned as the primary agency for Emergency Support Function No. 3, public works and engineering. The Corps assists the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) by coordinating federal public works and engineering-related support, as well as providing technical assistance, engineering expertise, and construction management to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and/or recover from domestic incidents.
The Corps of Engineers has more than 40 specially trained response teams ready to perform a wide range of missions assigned by FEMA. A few of these missions include:
• Temporary power. Providing emergency power to critical public facilities.
• Debris management. Emergency debris clearance, removal and disposal management from public property.
• Temporary roofing. Missions range from providing technical assistance to managing and contracting installation of blue plastic sheeting onto the roofs of damaged homes or public structures.
• Emergency infrastructure assessments. Manage structural safety assessments of commercial and residential structures, as well as the assessments of infrastructure systems, such as water and wastewater treatment facilities.
• Housing. Temporary housing missions can be wide ranging and may include technical assistance to FEMA and/or its contractors, placing prefabricated units on private property or existing mobile home parks, as well as design and construction of new group mobile home sites, to include the necessary infrastructure and placement of units.
In response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Mobile District Office deployed 14 Allatoona Lake employees on 20 separate missions from September 2017 until April 2018. These missions totaled roughly 600 days that Allatoona staff members were deployed in the field. Among the deployed staff to Puerto Rico and South Florida were eight rangers, one lead ranger, two managers, two front office personnel and one contract inspector.
The missions that were supported by Allatoona were debris removal, blue roof installation, and field office management and support. Several received commendations for their contributions during the relief missions, including two rangers who were credited with saving a life during a flash flood. Currently, four Allatoona staff members are deployed in Florida and South Georgia following the devastation brought on by Hurricane Michael in October 2018.
If you have any questions concerning the USACE support missions, contact the Allatoona Lake Office at www.sam.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Recreation/Allatoona-Lake or 678-721-6700.
– Christopher Purvis, lead ranger at Lake Allatoona over Partnerships, Volunteers and Project Security.