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Posted 12/19/2012

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By Nancy J. Sticht

Within days of Hurricane Sandy’s landfall, which reaped devastating effects across the northeastern seaboard, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District team was among the many national Corps responders to arrive on the scene to provide welcomed relief and assistance.


During an emergency response, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may task the Corps to provide critical public facilities to local governments under Emergency Support Function #3 – Public Works and Engineering. The critical public facilities mission consists of the placement of temporary structures for entities such as local fire departments, police departments, public schools, emergency management services, hospitals and public works facilities. Temporary structures for these facilities may include modular units, pre-engineered steel buildings, large tents, large inflatable structures or existing warehouses.


The Housing Planning Response Team (PRT), led by Tim Brown, mission manager, includes Jacksonville District representatives Jason Harrah, subject matter expert; Jeff Couch, action officer; Michael Drog, mission specialist; Simon Jackson, cost engineer; Gerald Deloach, electrical engineer; Paul DeMarco, National Environmental Policy Act specialist and Jason Ritter, Huntington District, sanitary engineer. The team is operating out of the New Jersey Recovery Field Office, providing technical assistance to FEMA public assistance teams.


“A successful critical public facilities mission incorporates the combined Corps functions of contracting, real estate, environmental, project management, design and construction oversight,” said Brown.  “Close coordination and partnership with FEMA, state and local governments and other federal agencies is essential.”


In the case of Hurricane Sandy response, technical assistance provided by the Corps team includes helping entities complete project worksheets for grant applications.  The project worksheets require detailed documentation of damages, technical scope of work, a site plan, and a detailed cost estimate. The team is also assisting in the preparation of environmental documentation required by local, state and the federal laws.


“The preliminary assessment of critical public facilities in New Jersey is complete for all 158 critical public facilities that reported damages,” said Brown. “We found a need for 29 temporary facilities, including eight fire, eight police, three schools, one city hall, one emergency management service and eight public works facilities.”


Brown said that the estimated completion date for the Critical Public Facilities Technical Assistance mission is Dec. 15.

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