Through our regional offices in Boston, Mass., Philadelphia, Penn., New York, N.Y., Atlanta, Ga., and our Caribbean Area Office in Puerto Rico, have been in close contact and coordination with the territories that have been affected, and states that may be impacted.
On Monday, President Obama declared an emergency for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, making available federal resources to support response efforts. In advance of Irene moving through the territories, we deployed teams to both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to coordinate directly with local officials on the ground.
And at the direction of President Obama and DHS Secretary Napolitano, we continue to work with our federal, state, territorial, tribal, and local partners, as well as voluntary organizations, the private sector, and others to aggressively prepare for Hurricane Irene.
The following timeline provides an overview of these and other federal activities, to date, to support these territories, states, families and communities. For the latest updates on our activities, visit the Severe Tropical Weather category on our blog.
Thursday, August 25
- Department of Homeland Secretary Napolitano and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate brief the President on ongoing activities in response to Hurricane Irene, including FEMA's support for territorial response activities in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, as well as FEMA's coordination of preparation efforts with the governors of potentially impacted states.
- In advance preparation for the storm, FEMA National Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMATs) are on the ground in North Carolina and Virginia and arriving in South Carolina, today in anticipation of further deployment to potential impact areas along the east coast of the U.S. In addition, Regional IMATs are also being deployed to Connecticut, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont, to coordinate with state, tribal and local officials to identify needs and shortfalls impacting potential disaster response and recovery.
- In addition to Incident Support Bases (ISBs) operating in Fort Bragg, NC and Fort Gordon in Augusta, GA to support federal operations to respond to Hurricane Irene, ISBs are being set up in Westover Air Reserve Base in Massachusetts and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, to support states within the regions. The Incident Support Base allows FEMA and federal partners to proactively stage commodities closer to areas potentially affected by severe weather, allowing us to quickly move needed supplies throughout nearby affected states, should they be needed and requested.
- FEMA Liaisons are currently located in North Carolina, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York. Liaisons are also deploying New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland.
- FEMA Deputy Administrator Serino and National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read hold a conference call with congressional stakeholders to discuss response operations, the latest storm developments and preparations.
- Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Fugate later convened a call with state, local and tribal emergency management officials, homeland security advisors, elected officials and tribal leaders in all states potentially affected by Hurricane Irene as the storm travels up the East Coast-highlighting federal resources and coordinated federal, state, tribal and local resiliency efforts for Hurricane Irene.
- Two Mobile Emergency Response System (MERS), one in Raleigh, NC and one at Fort Jackson, SC are staged to support emergency response communications needs.
- A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 249th Engineering Battalion (Prime Power) team is staged at the Fort Bragg, NC Incident Support Base.
- U.S. Coast Guard Water Science Center deploys crews to North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland to deploy storm surge sensors to coastal areas. Additional sensors are being shipped to Florida, Connecticut and New York.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities along the east coast have begun preparatory actions in advance of potential landfall of Hurricane Irene.
- U.S. Department of the Interior units affected by the storm, primarily national parks and fish and wildlife refuges along the coast, are taking all appropriate actions and informing the public via local announcements as actions are taken. Among the preparations, the National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service are organizing and deploying Incident Management Teams and Law Enforcement Teams.
- The American Red Cross begins opening shelters in North Carolina as local evacuation orders begin to go into effect. Additional shelters in North Carolina and other states are being prepared along the east coast. More information is available about open Red Cross shelters at redcross.org.
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Hurricane Center is monitoring Hurricane Irene, issuing watches and warnings to affected areas as required, and flying jet surveillance missions to provide updated forecasts.
- The Federal Communications Center (FCC) has deployed two Roll Call Spectrum Scanning teams to the FEMA regional offices in Atlanta and Boston. These teams conduct post scans after landfall to determine which critical communications systems might have been impacted.
- U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) is prepared to provide public health and medical support to states along the east coast in response to Hurricane Irene. The HHS is also coordinating with public health and emergency management agencies in U.S. territories and states along the projected hurricane path to make information available on how people can protect their health as they prepare for and respond to hurricanes and other natural disasters.
- The U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) has activated a Defense Coordinating Officer to the FEMA Regional Response Coordination Center in Atlanta in preparation for support to civil authorities as Hurricane Irene approaches the east coast of the United States.