gustav

Recovery From Gustav Continues

About the author: Mary Kemp is currently the Homeland Security Coordinator in the Dallas, TX regional office. Mary started at EPA in 1985 and has worked in the asbestos, Superfund, and air programs. She’s keeping us updated on how her office is responding to Hurricane Gustav.

Because of the limited damage from Hurricane Gustav, I have been doing less and less associated with the storm over the last couple of days. EPA has staff deployed to Louisiana to assist in public information, drinking water and wastewater assessments, and technical assistance. This work is on-going as well as reconnaissance work. So far, minimal support has been needed from EPA.

Gustav is fading . . . The next storms (Hanna, Ike, and Josephine) are coming. Hanna looks to hit the east coast sometime this weekend. We’re not sure where Ike will go. As long as we are needed, we will continue to help the states recover.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Update: Assessments Continue with Gustav

About the author: Mary Kemp is currently the Homeland Security Coordinator in the Dallas, TX regional office. Mary started at EPA in 1985 and has worked in the asbestos, Superfund, and air programs. She’s keeping us updated on how her office is responding to Hurricane Gustav.

Our first reconnaissance flights from yesterday showed no emergencies at facilities and limited damage. Our water experts will be assisting the state with assessments of drinking water and waste water infrastructure in the hurricane impacted area. They are also sharing and distributing information along the way. Our Public Information Officer is located at the Joint Field Office in Baton Rouge. He is coordinating information sharing and distribution of information too. We are continuing to work with the state. I’m on hold waiting to see if there will be an activation of the general Response Support Corps.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Reconnaissance After Gustav Begins!

About the author: Mary Kemp is currently the Homeland Security Coordinator in the Dallas, TX regional office. Mary started at EPA in 1985 and has worked in the asbestos, Superfund, and air programs. She’s keeping us updated on how her office is responding to Hurricane Gustav.

Trailer at a household hazardous waste dropoff

Hurricane Gustav has left the Gulf Coast and moved into northern Louisiana, close to Shreveport. We have a team of individuals in the field currently conducting the Rapid Needs Assessment. We have been in touch with Louisiana today and understand that the state is planning on requesting FEMA to activate Emergency Support Function-10, which is the collection of household hazardous waste. The first picture is what a collection site for household hazardous waste might look. This picture is from Hurricane Rita.

From today’s Regional Incident Coordination Team meeting, we learned that there is wind damage in Terrebonne Parish. EPA’s Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology (ASPECT) plane will be doing flyovers in Orleans and St. Bernard parishes. We will be conducting helicopter flyovers in other parts of the state of Louisiana later today. Some of the drinking water facilities are down due to no power. A boil water advisory will be issued by the State for some areas that were impacted. We are also working with FEMA to disseminate flyers.

Damage from Hurricane RitaOne might wonder what kind of damage occurs during a hurricane. I’ve enclosed another picture from Hurricane Rita showing damage in Cameron Parish. What I remember most from hurricanes Katrina and Rita were the number of trees uprooted, the number of church steeples blown off, the golden part of the McDonald’s arches being gone, and getting lost a lot because road signs were down. I am always amazed at the kind of destruction that Mother Nature can leave behind.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Hurricane Gustav Makes Landfall

About the author: Mary Kemp is currently the Homeland Security Coordinator in the Dallas, TX regional office. Mary started at EPA in 1985 and has worked in the asbestos, Superfund, and air programs. She’s keeping us updated on how her office is responding to Hurricane Gustav.

Hurricane Gustav made landfall this morning at 9:30 am at Cocodrie, Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane. Both Hurricanes Rita and Katrina were Category 3 hurricanes at landfall. We have been in contact with both Louisiana and Texas throughout the day.

In today’s Senior Regional Incident Coordination Team (RICT) call, we were given an update. We are mobilizing a Rapid Needs Assessment team for reconnaissance. The Rapid Assessment team will likely be in the field on late Tuesday/Wednesday.We have been activated by FEMA to have a Public Information Officer in Baton Rouge.We are looking at additional ways to distribute public information.

I have been working with the Response Support Corps Coordinator on development of a deployment form. I expect that things will be very busy tomorrow when we are all back in the office.

The storm seems to be moving very fast. We are already seeing a little more breeze here in Dallas. I can see the clouds from the outer rain bands off in the distance looking east. Here in Dallas, I am hoping for the rain and very little damage for the folks on the Gulf.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Gustav Preparation

About the author: Mary Kemp is currently the Homeland Security Coordinator in the Dallas, TX regional office. Mary started at EPA in 1985 and has worked in the asbestos, Superfund, and air programs. She’s keeping us updated on how her office is responding to Hurricane Gustav.

Our Regional Administrator set the tone in today’s meeting, “People in harm’s way along the gulf coast are depending on EPA to respond to their needs. They could not be better served than they are by the federal, state, and local partners who are ready, tried and proven through hard earned experience in recovering from the environmental impacts of natural disasters. We will not let them down.”

Preparation efforts continue at EPA Region 6. In this morning’s meeting, we discussed when to begin flyer dissemination, fuel waivers, and when we expect to have people on the ground doing damage assessment. A Gustav website should come up later today detailing how Region 6 is preparing.

As Homeland Security Coordinator, my job during disasters is to work with our Regional Incident Coordination Team and also work with Response Support Corps deployment. We learned from Katrina and are using these lessons in our Hurricane Plan that we are following. We are setting objectives and timeframes for specific actions next week. I have been working on a deployment one-pager for Response Support Corps personnel. I have also been setting up a meeting schedule for next week’s Regional Incident Coordination Team. We continue to coordinate with State and Local officials. We continue to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

EPA info about hurricane preparedness. This page is also available in Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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