SAVANNAH, Ga. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District deployed a 15-person emergency power team over the weekend to various places in Florida to assist with widespread outages in the wake of destruction caused by Hurricane Irma. The mission is part of the overall response and recovery effort led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Emergency power teams contribute to the overall federal response during a disaster by providing immediate temporary electricity solutions to critical public services that cannot be disrupted for extended periods without impacts to life safety.
The mission of the Corps’ Savannah District team in Florida involves delivery and installation of large generators to provide electrical power to facilities such as hospitals, wastewater treatment plants, nursing homes, and other critical services.
“Modern communities run on electricity,” said David Peterson, Savannah District Emergency Management Chief. “Electrical power is essential to everything we do. Think about health needs, food storage and preparation, heating and cooling, and our dependence on communications. Without power, simple things we have come to take for granted rapidly disintegrate.”
To further make the point of dependence on electricity, Peterson pointed out that during the recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy, the Corps was tasked to provide emergency power for polling facilities, because voting machines run on electricity.
Missions of this kind are a necessary stop-gap to allow power companies the time they need to restore primary power infrastructure. “Utility providers are not slow,” said Peterson. “They move with amazing speed. That’s why the Corps focuses on critical facilities and services.”
Currently in response to Hurricane Irma, the Corps of Engineers at the national level has more than 350 personnel operating in coordination with county, state and FEMA partners. The Corps serves as the lead agency to respond with public works and engineering support and to coordinate long-term infrastructure recovery in any disaster.
“The Savannah District Power Team is made up of seasoned responders, and our number one priority continues to be the life, health and safety of all who are affected by Hurricane Irma,” said Peterson.
Release no. 17-034