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  6. FEMA Officials and Federal Family Supporting Local Response to Hurricane Irma

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In an effort to keep DHS.gov current, the archive contains outdated information that may not reflect current policy or programs.

FEMA Officials and Federal Family Supporting Local Response to Hurricane Irma

Release Date: September 12, 2017

For Immediate Release
FEMA News Desk
Phone: 202-646-3272

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through its National and Regional Response Coordination Centers and liaisons to the National Hurricane Center, is actively monitoring the track of Tropical Storm Irma and supporting local authorities as they respond to the damage already caused in Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), and Puerto Rico.

More than 32,600 federal personnel are working in support of preparedness and response to Hurricane Irma, including more than 2,300 FEMA staff. Additional staff continue to deploy.

Tropical Storm Irma remains dangerous; numerous Tropical Storm, Storm Surge, and Flash Flood Warnings remain in effect throughout Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. Those in the storm’s path must stay vigilant and continue to monitor local radio or TV stations for updated emergency information, and follow the direction of state, tribal, and local officials.

Local curfews may be lifted, but survivors should expect and prepare for significant, ongoing impacts, and disruptions to daily activities, and remember that returning home before storm debris is cleared is dangerous. FEMA recommends survivors return to their homes only when authorities indicate it is safe, as preemptively returning can pose significant safety risks to both survivors’ safety, as well as that of first responders.

Shelters remain open across the affected areas. Download the FEMA mobile app (available in English and Spanish) for a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, directions to open shelters, disaster survival tips, and weather alerts from the National Weather Service.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Disaster Distress Helpline (1-800-985-5990) remains open 24/7 for free help coping with the stress of the storm.

As of September 11, FEMA transferred approximately 2.4 million meals and 1.4 million liters of water to the state of Florida, at their request. FEMA also transferred more than 628,000 meals and 900,000 liters of water to the state of Georgia, at their request.  In addition, nearly 443,000 meals, 146,000 liters of water, 56 rolls of blue tarps, and 13 infant/ toddler kits were transferred to St. Thomas and St. John, per their request. The following commodities are at FEMA staging areas and distribution centers, should they be needed and requested by the U.S. Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico:

  • U.S. Virgin Islands- More than 210,000 meals and 115,200 of water
  • Puerto Rico- More than 161,000 meals, 592,000 liters of water, and 70 generators

Federal Efforts Underway as of September 11, 2017 

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will continue to ensure that households displaced in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and those who may be experiencing the imminent threat of Hurricane Irma get the food they need. USDA stands ready to assist families by coordinating with state, local, and voluntary organizations to provide food for shelters and other mass feeding sites. In addition, USDA will be looking for ways to allow state flexibility in program design and administration, to support the continuation of nutrition benefits to participants during this time of natural disaster.
  • The American Red Cross (ARC) is operationally focused on safety, shelter, food and positioning personnel and supplies. Sunday night, an estimated 208,000 people sought refuge from Hurricane Irma in more than 680 government and Red Cross evacuation centers across six states, in addition to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This includes: in Florida, an estimated 200,000 people in 587 evacuation centers. In Georgia, more than 6,500 people in over 40 evacuation centers. There are also 69 evacuation centers set up in Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, which housed close to 1,400 people Sunday night. There are currently 1,892 staff and volunteers located in Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, with an additional 425 enroute.
  • The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) continued messaging on surviving the aftermath of the storm – preventing carbon monoxide poisoning, home fires, electrocution and gas explosion-related hazards. More information is available in CPSC Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle’s recent press statement.
  • The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) activated 23 AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams, including FEMA Corps, to Florida, Georgia, and Puerto Rico. These AmeriCorps members will provide support for shelter operations, disaster survivor assistance, distribution, and child-friendly spaces. CNCS is coordinating with Volunteer Florida and other local partners to facilitate any immediate response needs with the thousands of locally-serving AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members. In addition, CNCS is calling upon its network of alumni, nonprofits, and other volunteer-organizations to answer the call for volunteers in the state of Florida, a critical need.
  • U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)
    • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) currently has more than 350 personnel engaged and operating in coordination with county, state and FEMA partners.  USACE is deploying four Power Planning and Response Teams to assist with assessments and generator installations in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida, and Georgia. USACE received FEMA mission assignments to provide the state of Florida with an Infrastructure Assessment Planning and Response Team (PRT), Temporary Power PRT, Water/Wastewater PRT, Debris Removal PRT, and Unwatering subject matter experts.
    • The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) is providing 76 fuel trucks at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, with another 14 enroute. Additional supplies include 834 commodity trailers to support survivors displaced by Irma, and 12 million meals.
    • The U.S. National Guard Bureau (NGB) has 28 states and over 13,000 members supporting operations in the affected states. The Wisconsin National Guard's 127th and 148th Infantry Battalions are enroute to provide security operations in Florida.
    • U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) is focused on the pre-positioning of search and rescue assets in Florida, should those capabilities be requested. Efforts in support of search and rescue include: military elements at Naval Air Station Key West and Homestead Air Reserve Base are assessing and reestablishing airfield operations for the possible employment of search and rescue assets. U.S. Air Force helicopters are also preparing for possible SAR operations. The U.S. Navy continues to move the USS Iwo Jima and USS New York towards Key West.  The USS Abraham Lincoln arrived there Sunday night with a variety of rotary wing capabilities and will begin operations when requested.  The 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, is positioning its helicopters to be used in search and rescue and resupply of food, water, medical supplies and other commodities the state may need.
  • U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) continues to closely monitor the impact of Hurricane Irma and is coordinating with its partners to facilitate communications, provide situational awareness and expedite restoration efforts. DOE’s private sector partners have mobilized tens of thousands of workers from across the United States and Canada to assist in response, power restoration, and rebuilding efforts, as quickly as it is safe to do so. DOE continues to work closely with its interagency and private sector partners to ensure that fuel remains available to the states impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. The Department is posting situation reports here.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will exercise its enforcement discretion for Tampa Electric company to operate without meeting all pollution controls at three of its facilities in order to maintain the supply of electricity to customers and the supply of electricity to customers and critical facilities in Florida, and to facilitate the expeditious restoration of lost electrical service caused by Hurricane Irma. The three facilities are the company’s Big Bend Station, Polk Power Station, and Bayside Power Station.
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is monitoring the status of communications networks in the areas affected by Hurricane Irma and created a dedicated webpage for daily communications status reports, information, and resources related to the hurricane, including tips for communicating during an emergency.
  • General Services Administration (GSA) is using USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov to continue to support federal agency messaging efforts on their home pages and are compiling federal agency updates and messaging on their Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey pages found at https://www.usa.gov/hurricane-irma, https://gobierno.usa.gov/huracan-irma and https://www.usa.gov/hurricane-harvey and https://gobierno.usa.gov/huracan-harvey, respectively.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is working with state health officials to assess areas in Florida that may need federal medical and public health support. HHS deployed approximately 675 personnel from the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (USPHS) to assist in Florida and placed additional teams and equipment on alert including NDMS, USPHS, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) public health and environmental health teams, and federal medical stations. Three medical teams continue to provide care at a hospital emergency department on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. So far, HHS helped the territory evacuate approximately 100 dialysis patients from St. Thomas to San Juan for treatment. HHS Secretary Tom Price, M.D., signed public health emergencies declarations for Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services made subsequent waivers available.
    • The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is continuing efforts to identify communications specialists for deployment to impacted areas. CDC recommends keeping generators 20 feet from homes and other buildings.
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
    • The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is amplifying Surge Capacity Force (SCF) messaging in our internal newsletter – The USCIS Today – of the most recent wave of employees who deployed in support of the federal government's overall recovery and rebuild efforts in the areas affected by Hurricane Irma. To date, USCIS has 536 employees as part of the SCF in Texas and Florida.
    • The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is working closely with federal, territorial, and state partners to provide search and rescue as well as damage assessments across areas impacted by Hurricane Irma. Coast Guard National Strike Force teams have been deployed to assist with facilities assessments and respond to any emergent pollution response requests. Information on port conditions and status can be found by selecting the "Port Directory" menu at: http://www.homeport.uscg.mil..
    • The National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) continues to make necessary response efforts from Hurricane Irma towards restoration and rebuild within the state of Florida, and with the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Restoration and rebuild efforts are underway to support efforts in Georgia and Alabama through Region IV. All deployed personnel are accounted for and will await the all-clear indicator before resuming efforts. Identity management personnel are assisting FEMA’s screening and vetting of disaster response volunteers for Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts and stand by to support Hurricane Irma efforts as well. NPPD is coordinating damage and impact assessments on all critical infrastructure, including transportation, food, healthcare and public health, power, water, and more, in the area affected by Hurricane Irma. NPPD anticipates the number of personnel deployed to areas affected by Hurricane Irma to increase as the need for volunteers to assist with future post recovery efforts becomes known.
  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced they will speed federal disaster assistance to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and provide support to homeowners and low-income renters forced from their homes due to Hurricane Irma.
  • The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) currently has a total of 214 personnel supporting FEMA missions related to Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irma including 55 U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) personnel continuing real-time field measurements and daily reporting of water heights in Puerto Rico, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida; eight Office of Emergency Management personnel at FEMA’s NRCC, and 142 staff providing law enforcement support for search and rescue and other FEMA functions. Six quick response teams of ESF-13 personnel include staff from the Office of Law Enforcement as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Park Police, National Park Service, Office of the Inspector General, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Indian Affairs. An additional Quick Response Team of 25 is on standby.
  • The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), as part of ESF-13, has more than 700 law enforcement personnel currently pre-positioned or responding for Hurricane Irma. This includes 40 Quick Response Teams, 6 Mobile Command Vehicles, and 5 Mobile Bunk Houses.
  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is monitoring potential effects from the storm on the Hatch nuclear plant in Georgia and the Farley nuclear plant in Alabama, while continuing to support for the Turkey Point and St. Lucie plants in Florida.
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) made additional updates to its 2017 Hurricane Recovery website to add information about Hurricane Irma assistance.
  • U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
    • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) continues to pre-position technicians, emergency response equipment, and mobile air navigation aids throughout Florida to quickly restore air traffic control services to storm-affected regions.
  • The U.S. Department of Treasury (DOTreas) activated the Financial and Banking Information Infrastructure Committee (FBIIC) communications protocols, and will monitor key financial sector infrastructure in the potential Irma impact zone. Treasury will also assist with preparation and priority restoration of financial institution operations, and continue working as necessary to mitigate any impact on the financial system. The IRS provided personnel and facilities to assist with response efforts and provided tax payers with guidance for storm preparation. In addition, Treasury law enforcement officers have been placed on standby to provide support as needed. Finally, Treasury closed facilities in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Florida.
  • The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) reports its primary concern is the safety of their employees, customers, and suppliers. USPS is advising employees affected by Irma to call the USPS national emergency hotline at 888-363-7462 to report their condition and check for changes in their scheduled work reporting status. In Gulf Atlantic District, which includes portions of northern Florida and southern Georgia, USPS is advising customers that normal service operations will be interrupted due to unsafe conditions. In the middle and southern part of Florida they are accounting for our employees and assessing our facilities. In the Caribbean, USPS is in recovery mode. The latest USPS service status is available on the USPS Service Alerts page.


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Last Updated: 02/05/2021
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