Skip to comments.Army teams with FEMA for Hurricane Emily
Posted on 07/22/2005 4:29:29 PM PDT by SandRat
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Army News Service, July 20, 2005) -- Hurricane Emily came ashore July 20 but wasnt packing the wallop residents and tourists of the South Texas shore area originally expected.
While the South Padre Islands still took a beating with high winds and heavy rain, it was not enough of a blow for any of the 126 supply-laden trucks poised at a staging area at Fort Sam Houston to pull out and head south.
The trucks, loaded with everything from water and food to cots and generators, packed the field on Wilson Street Sunday night as part of a joint hurricane support effort between Fort Sam Houston, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The trucks are loaded with enough supplies to accommodate 100,000 South Texans for two days, said Sheila Sprague, litigation coordinator and editor for the U.S. Forest Service. We were ready to respond immediately if needed.
Along with contracted truck drivers, 24 employees from the federal agencies traveled to San Antonio from various locations throughout the United States for the relief effort.
Representatives from FEMA, lead agency for the support effort, and the U.S. Forest Service coordinated check-in of the trucks, and FEMA employees set up telecommunications at the staging area.
This type of effort takes a lot of planning, said Kathleen Ziegelgruber, FEMA computer specialist. First, we obviously needed a lot of space and also have to coordinate the arrival and departure of the trucks and track everything to make sure it all gets back to where its supposed to go.
FEMA has a long-standing relationship with Fort Sam Houston, making the post a perfect location for a staging area, said Phillip Reidinger, Fort Sam Houston Public Affairs officer.
This is a traditional role for Fort Sam Houston, he said. The post has worked with FEMA on readiness and training exercises so there is a familiarity with each other that lends itself to this type of support.
The distance to the hurricane site also tipped the scale in Fort Sam Houstons favor, as well as the fact that the post is home to 5th U.S. Army, which coordinates all military support to civilian authorities.
Fort Sam Houston is an ideal location, Reidinger said. Were happy to support this type of effort which, if the support is needed, can have a positive impact on thousands of people.
Along with providing land, post agencies also pitched in to support the effort. U.S. Army Garrison provided trash dumpsters, port-a-potties and shaded areas; Morale, Welfare and Recreation offered access to showers, food and shopping facilities; medical preventive medicine personnel inspected the staging area for health and safety issues; and the Directorate of Emergency Services provided patrols to ensure security.
This was a great cooperative effort between federal entities, Sprague said. It was great to see the hard work and planning pay off with a flawless operation.
(Editors note: Elaine Wilson serves with the Fort Sam Houston Public Information Office.)