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The California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) has announced that eight state, city and county-level emergency managers are currently being deployed to the east coast to assist in the ongoing recovery process of Hurricane Sandy. This is the latest in ongoing resource coordination efforts underway at the State Operations Center (SOC) inside Cal EMA’s Headquarters in Mather, Calif.
“Often the hardest part of a disaster isn’t the initial impact, but taking care of the critical needs of survivors left in its wake,” said Cal EMA Secretary Mark Ghilarducci. “That’s why it’s so important that we do our part by offering assistance and send experts from throughout California who are highly-skilled in emergency management and coordination. Our hearts go out to those still struggling to recover.”
The eight personnel tasked for deployment today are coming from the City of Los Angeles, City and County of San Francisco and Cal EMA’s Coastal Region. The deployed staff is headed for Westchester County Department of Emergency Services in Hawthorne, New York, just 30 miles north of New York City.
Today’s deployment of specifically skilled personnel was coordinated by Cal EMA through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, or EMAC, a national agreement among all 50 states and U.S. territories. The EMAC allows for emergency resources to be made available in a neighbor-helping-neighbor system before, during and after a major disaster. EMAC is used in conjunction with federal disaster assistance and other regional mutual aid agreements.
“Right now, we’re currently very focused on these recovery operations and requests coming from the east coast,” said Tina Curry, Director of the activated State Operations Center. “These emergency managers are going to give a big boost to the local staff there and assist them any way they can.”
Since before Hurricane Sandy made landfall on U.S. soil, Cal EMA has been working with emergency managers throughout California, California Utilities Emergency Association, California Highway Patrol, California Department of Transportation, California Department of Public Health, California Emergency Services Authority, California Department of Social Services and America Red Cross to provide assistance and stand ready to meet the needs of the affected states.
Other deployments include:
California National Guard deployed the 129th Rescue Wing including two C-130 large aircraft, two HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters and a total of 83 personnel trained in medical aid, search and rescue and other emergency response activities.
According to the California Utilities Emergency Association, more than 630 utility responders have been deployed and 55 more responders are in staging areas around California ready to respond. They sent specialized equipment including massive generators, lowboys, and utility trucks to assist in restoring power to those still without power.
15 California fire service personnel have been deployed to Herndon, VA as part of Urban Search and Rescue Incident Support Teams. These personnel are being tasked to several different areas along the northeast.
The California Emergency Management Agency has assembled special emergency coordination personnel working in the State Operations Center and formed a special transportation task force to help expedite the travel of utility trucks and personnel across state lines.