CBP Activates Hurricane Irene Response Along East Coast
Despite Hurricane Irene being downgraded to a Category 1 storm, the sheer size of this hurricane -- about 800 miles across -- is daunting. Irene is expected to leave in its wake dramatic damage along more than 20,000 miles of U.S. shoreline and across 12 states from North Carolina to Maine and the District of Columbia.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has activated Lead Field Coordinators in FEMA Regions 1 through 4, based in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Atlanta, respectively, to coordinate the agency's response.
"Hurricane Irene is an enormous storm, from which we can anticipate extensive damage and prolonged power outages, but CBP is organized and ready to respond," said Michael J. Lovejoy, CBP's director of field operations in Baltimore and the agency's lead field coordinator for FEMA Region 3. "Our primary focus is to assist our employees and their family, and to return our own employees back to work."
"The quicker that we can start moving passengers and trade through our ports of entry, the quicker we can help our country recover from this devastating hurricane," he added.
CBP also established Incident Command Posts and pre-positioned additional staff to Boston and Portland, Maine, in FEMA Region I; John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport in Region II; Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport and Richmond, Va., in Region III, and Raleigh, N.C., in Region IV.
LFCs ensure that CBP staff throughout their designated region have what they need to quickly resume routine business, while ICPs conduct those business resumption operations, as well as other tasks that satisfy FEMA mission assignments.
"CBP has learned from past experience the importance of early planning and close coordination with our law enforcement partners to ensure that our employees and the local community are safe," said Michael S. Denning, CBP acting director of field operations in Atlanta and New Orleans and the commander of the Richmond ICP. "We also make every effort to reactivate our port operations as quickly as possible in order to lesson the economic impact of these disasters,"
"CBP brings an incredible and diverse amount of assets and emergency response experience to an impacted area. This allows CBP employees impacted by natural disasters to focus on their families while their CBP family ensures the secure flow of trade," said Denning.
CBP employees are also staffing FEMA Regional Response Coordination Centers to help match CBP's unique capabilities to mission assignments.
These capabilities include aerial coastal damage assessments and urban search and rescue. CBP law enforcement officers also provide back-up to municipal and state police officers, and provide a uniformed presence at FEMA Points of Distribution and at evacuee shelters to help control crowds and protect evacuees.
All members of the public are encouraged to visit Ready.gov to ensure you and your family are prepared for any possible emergency.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.