San Juan, PR -- When President Bush declared the flooded Southwestern region of Puerto Rico a major disaster, the commonwealth received a new federal coordinating officer (FCO). Justo "Tito" Hernández of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was appointed to lead the federal response and recovery effort.
In March of 1999, Hernández was selected to join FEMA's national cadre of federal team leaders to head up presidential declared disasters throughout the country. Since then, Hernández has served as FCO or Deputy FCO in Florida, New York, Texas, Vermont and in West Virginia for Hurricane Floyd.
Originally from Carolina, Puerto Rico, Hernández joined FEMA in 1989 and brings an extensive range of emergency operations experience to this disaster, from Human Service's Branch Chief to field inspector for the housing program.
"It's a great honor to serve as FCO here in Puerto Rico," Hernández said. "It's about giving back to the communities that have given so much to me.
Hernández has served on more than thirty federal disaster operations throughout the country that includes Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the Midwest Floods of 1993 in Kansas, the Northridge, California Earthquake in 1994, and Hurricanes Marilyn and Georges. He also was a member of a task force, which developed the cutting-edge technology in the inspection system that now uses a hand-held computer to upload information on damage assessments.
From 1981 to 1987, Hernández served in the U.S. Coast Guard and currently resides in Puerto Rico with his wife, Arleen, and three children.