By James PogueSeptember 5, 2019
Thirteen members of the Memphis District's Power Planning and Response Team (PRT) deployed to South Carolina over the last few days to provide temporary emergency power in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.
"Ten members of the Power PRT deployed yesterday and three more flew out today," Steven Barry, Memphis District Chief of Emergency Operations said on Wednesday, Sept. 4.
"Current forecasts predict Hurricane Dorian will move northward along the east coast," Barry said. "The main threats will likely be from high winds, flash flooding, and storm surge. We hope any damage to coastal areas will be minimal and that our team can return to the district sometime next week."
Power PRTs coordinate the efforts of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to provide state and local officials, Tribal Nations and U.S. Territories broad support for their unmet temporary emergency power needs. This support ranges from technical expertise and assistance through complete management of an emergency power mission including the procurement, installation, operation and maintenance of generators.
In most cases, USACE performs these temporary emergency power missions under the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The Memphis District Power PRT is one of seven teams strategically located across the United States. The overall proponent for the emergency power mission is the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division.
"This is part of a multi-state effort of the Corps to locate teams in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina," PRT Action Officer Jim Wolff said. When not serving on the Power PRT Wolff is the Chief of the Memphis District's Construction Branch.
"The Memphis District Power Team has made contact with our FEMA and state partners. Generators that have been pre-positioned have been inventoried, and await tasking if South Carolina state power response team resources are overwhelmed by requests for emergency generators."
Over the decades, the Memphis District PRT has responded to missions on a global scale, from New Orleans to New York City, and Puerto Rico to Guam. Their work has brought temporary power to life saving facilities like 911 centers, police, fire stations and medical facilities. Also in this emergency category, are water and wastewater treatment and pumping facilities, and other municipal facilities support local command and control and post-event recovery.
Members of the Power PRT perform a variety of jobs. These include acting as Action Officers, Mission Managers, Mission Specialists, Quality Assurance personnel, Contracting Specialists, and Mission Liaison Officers.
Membership on the Memphis District's Power PRT is open to most employees pending approval from their supervisors. Specialized knowledge of the mission is usually not a prerequisite since employees receive technical and on-the-job training when they become team members. Contact Steve Barry if you are interested in joining the team.
For more information on the USACE Temporary Emergency Power mission, check out the video at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOGaPwlxu0w