The 249th Engineer Battalion and New Hanover County personnel conducted a joint facility assessment exercise on 24-26 September, in an effort to update historical assessment information on critical facilities so the County can prepare for any future emergency operation events.
The 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power) is a versatile power generation battalion assigned to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that provides temporary commercial-level power to military units during full spectrum operations. Additionally, they have the capability to perform electrical assessments on critical facilities as part of Emergency Support Function #3 during FEMA Response. The 249th is composed of three Power Generation Companies and one Power Line Company. Bravo Company, from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was assigned to assist with the facility assessments in New Hanover County.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to be out here doing these assessments,” said Sergeant First Class Reggie Kalous, “because if another disaster occurs in New Hanover County in the month of October, we are next in line to aid in response.”
New Hanover County Emergency Management serves as the liaison to the North Carolina Emergency Management team, and in turn FEMA, during emergencies. They also support the four municipalities of the City of Wilmington, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach during natural disasters. When aid is needed, information is collected at the County’s Emergency Operations Center, or EOC, and they alert the State EOC, who can then request the help of Task Force Temporary Emergency Power.
“Assessments like these offer excellent opportunities to become familiar with each other,” said Anna McRay, the Assistant Director of Emergency Management for New Hanover County. “It provides great practice for real life scenarios.”
The facilities assessment performed focused on emergency power requirements and took place in multiple areas across New Hanover County.
“The facilities assessment may be the most important part of what we are doing today,” said Chief Warrant Officer Two Darius Cooper. “It allows us to accurately evaluate every asset we have available to us in the event we are activated during an emergency.”
The facility assessment exercise has been successful in providing the 249th Engineer Battalion and New Hanover County personnel with real-world training and disaster preparation.
“Knowing that what we are doing could save lives and make a difference during a disaster is what makes assessments like these so important,” said Chief Cooper. “It’s a great feeling.”