ATLANTA, Ga. -- Kentucky's storm emergency needs continue to be a priority for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is coordinating and delivering federal resources to the commonwealth.
With widespread power outages affecting communications capabilities in Kentucky, FEMA's Mobile Emergency Response Support units - called MERS - have moved from Thomasville, Ga., and Frederick, Md., to Kentucky. MERS assets include portable radio towers, repeaters and radios; multiple portable KU Band satellite systems and satellite telephones to help officials in areas where cellular towers are inoperative.
FEMA also has deployed its Incident Response Vehicle, technicians, and radio/repeater equipment to construct a radio network capable of providing communications.
"This is an amazing effort and we have worked long hours to move supplies and equipment. Our working partnership with FEMA ensures we are getting excellent help under difficult circumstances for Kentuckians suffering from the winter storm," said Gen. John W. Heltzel, director of Kentucky's Division of Emergency Management.
FEMA began moving supplies into the commonwealth Thursday morning. To date, water, meals, cots and blankets, have moved through the national logistics staging area at Fort Campbell to the Commonwealth's staging areas in Greenville and Paducah. There are no known shortages of commodities at this time.
"We know how rough conditions are when power is out," said FEMA Regional Administrator Phil May. "We are working to help the state take care of people's emergency needs."
FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are working together to provide industrial-size generators needed to power critical facilities. Teams are assessing needs and installing these generators each day.
Other states help through the National Emergency Management Assistance Compact - called EMAC. Mississippi is sending generators to Benton, Ky., to help power shelters housing victims of the storm.
FEMA also is fulfilling the commonwealth's requests for diesel fuel and unleaded gasoline. Delivery of a total 80,000 gallons began Saturday at commonwealth staging areas in Greenville and Paducah.
Other federal agencies are supporting FEMA as necessary. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has officials in the Kentucky Emergency Operations Center to identify any medical-facility needs.
Under President Obama's emergency declaration issued Wednesday, FEMA directs other federal agencies and provides 75 percent federal funding for emergency measures for public health and safety in 61 designated counties.
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.