The Eastern and Midwest Incident Management Teams have merged into a single NPS incident management team to better support parks in need of help after Hurricane Sandy. The team moved to the New York Harbor area on Sunday. In addition to the core team, there are specialized support crews in the field supporting employee emergency needs, conducting damage assessments, and removing debris in the affected areas.
Over 120 National Park Service employees from 26 states and the District of Columbia are working with the team and those numbers will increase as assessments of needs come in from the field. The team is responsible for Gateway NRA, the National Parks of New York Harbor, Sagamore Hill, Fire Island, Morristown, and Thomas Edison.
Preliminary damage assessments and response to critical needs continue. The response is framed by the need to work safely and provide support for all NPS employees working in the parks.
Fort Wadsworth in Gateway is serving as the staging area for field crews and as the incident command post for the team. A US Park Police helicopter, “Eagle 2,” will be providing aerial assessments and support.
Personnel have been divided into four branches for better logistical management of this very large urban area. In addition to branch managers, resources in the field on Friday included:
- Employee assistance team – The team has been working on the Service’s first priority, ensuring that all NPS employees have been accounted for and their immediate needs met. A number of employee homes and vehicles have been damaged.
- Facility assessment teams – Fourteen facility assessment specialists, divided into three teams, are undertaking site assessments.
- Law enforcement teams – Teams from the Midwest and Southeast have been dispatched to areas identified as most in need of these resources – Fire Island, Manhattan Sites, Sandy Hook, and Morristown.
- Saw teams – Teams from the Northeast Arborist Incident Response (AIR) team, Stone’s River, Natchez Trace, and King’s Mountain have begun work at Gateway’s Sandy Hook Unit, Manhattan Sites, and Morristown.
Social media remain active. As of Friday, the Facebook site, “NPS Superstorm Sandy Response,” had been visited by over 4,000 people from 19 countries and the United States. The twitter site, “SandyResponseNPS,” continues to re-tweet incoming information from the parks and other agencies.
Sties that were still closed as of Friday were as follows: National Parks of New York Harbor (which includes all of Gateway), Sagamore Hill, Fire Island, Morristown, and Thomas Edison.