You never know when an emergency will arise, which is why the Temporary Housing Planning and Response Team at the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, stays trained and ready to deploy when needed.
The Huntsville team received the call Sept. 11 to head to Louisiana to help with the flood recovery effort.
A Presidential declaration of a major disaster for the State of Louisiana (FEMA-4277-DR), was signed Aug. 14, after Louisiana was hit with a record flood that destroyed/damaged property and displaced thousands of people from their homes.
The Huntsville team is one of six in the Corps of Engineers trained to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency with temporary housing and/or critical public facilities following a natural disaster, such as the recent flooding in Baton Rouge. Teams from USACE’s St. Paul District and Huntington District were previously deployed.
“A total of 20 Huntsville Center personnel deployed to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to support the temporary housing mission for the areas impacted by flooding in August 2016,” said Alden Neva, the team’s mission manager. “Huntsville Center personnel will work out of the FEMA Joint Field Office in Baton Rouge.”
Other team members include Jon Wilson who will be an action officer; Shah Alam, mission specialist; Robert Zendler, database manager; Bonnie Smith, administrative assistant; Beverly Richey, GIS specialist; Matthew Urbanic, contract specialist; Jackie White, electrical engineer; Mark Fleck, cost engineer; Darren Mulford, construction engineer; Sherri Anderson-Hudgins, site engineer; Brett Frazier, sanitary engineer; and quality assurance inspectors Sheron Belcher, Clay Weisenberger, Dan Gaston, Horace Spoon, Larry McIntosh, John Nevels, James Dunn and Susan Vanderbeck.
The team’s primary purpose will be to determine, designate and design sites for temporary housing units, conduct site surveys, complete site inspections, conduct quality assurance inspections upon placement of the temporary housing units, and provide whatever additional assistance is required by FEMA.
“With the quality of the people who have volunteered for this rigorous effort, the Huntsville Center Temporary Housing PRT will be able to provide valuable expertise in helping Baton Rouge citizens recover from this natural disaster,” Neva said.
All housing missions are executed upon receipt of mission assignments from FEMA under the authority of the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act) (Public Law 100-707) and in compliance with policies and guidance of the National Response Framework (NRF). Mission stakeholders include the impacted states and local governments.
USACE and FEMA are the primary agencies for the execution of temporary housing missions, in coordination with state and local governments, Neva said. Successful implementation of a temporary housing mission requires close coordination and cooperation from state housing officials, federal and state environmental agencies, State Historic Preservation Office, state and local building code officials, state and local health departments, public utilities and elected officials. Missions may be executed by contracts administered by USACE or by other contracting alternatives, including FEMA administered IA-TAC contracts.