News: Fort Devens hosts FEMA personnel to aid in Hurricane Sandy relief efforts
Story by Staff Sgt. Shawn Morris
FORT DEVENS, Mass. – Approximately 100 personnel from the Federal Emergency Management Agency arrived here beginning Oct. 28 in a joint effort to combat the ravages of Hurricane Sandy.
The installation provided the FEMA personnel space for an Emergency Operations Cell, as well as administrative rooms, commercial network access, telephones, billets and power generators.
“Fort Devens has the capacity to support up to 1,500 personnel, with ample space for staging equipment and supplies required for the FEMA mission,” said Lt. Col. Steven Egan, Fort Devens commander. “We ensured the space assigned was adequate for their personnel to conduct operations and to dispatch emergency response teams throughout the region.”
As Hurricane Sandy threatened the eastern seaboard of the United States, U.S. Army North declared Fort Devens an Incident Support Base, which serves as a staging area for FEMA personnel, equipment and supplies.
“Fort Devens has been designated in general as a Base Support Installation by ARNORTH due to its location and ability to support FEMA Region 1,” Egan explained. “For Hurricane Sandy, Fort Devens was designated as an ISB for FEMA Region 1 personnel due to its central location in New England and relative ease in getting to the base, which make it ideally suited for FEMA personnel to use as a base.
“Also, Fort Devens is outside the metropolitan cities and has easy access from major highways and several airports,” he added.
As the Department of Defense works in support of FEMA and at the request of local and state authorities in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the Army Reserve continues to provide emergency relief by being ready to respond with the unique capabilities its units, personnel and facilities have to offer.
“What we’re seeing at Devens … is absolutely in line with providing what is an obvious solution to space needs and billeting requirements,” said Maj. Gen. William D. Razz Waff, commanding general of the Army Reserve’s 99th Regional Support Command and senior commander of Fort Dix, N.J., and Fort Devens, Mass.
With Devens meeting FEMA’s needs as an ISB, this partnership between military and civilian entities is ultimately serving those most in need – the local population that has suffered the wrath of Hurricane Sandy.
“This support to FEMA allows Fort Devens to support our communities and the New England area through FEMA's response efforts,” Egan concluded.