Hurricane Irma Disaster Response
OE-0017 - September 2017 - SAF I - North America - USA - Florida
Hurricane Irma was an extremely powerful and catastrophic Cape Verde hurricane, the strongest observed in the Atlantic in terms of maximum sustained winds since Wilma, and the strongest storm on record to exist in the open Atlantic region. Irma was the first Category 5 hurricane to strike the Leeward Islands on record, followed by Hurricane Maria two weeks later, and is the second-costliest Caribbean hurricane on record, after Maria. The ninth named storm, fourth hurricane, second major hurricane, and first Category 5 hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, Irma caused widespread and catastrophic damage throughout its long lifetime, particularly in the northeastern Caribbean and the Florida Keys (Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Irma). In this mission, the team deployed in advance of the hurricane landfall and initially based in Atlanta, Georgia along with other response teams, including Team Rubicon. The team moved to the Tampa region when Irma made landfall, then connected with the United Rescue Team from Israel to respond to Miami. From there, the team was dispatched to the Florida Keys to offer services to the Fire Rescue and Incident Command location in hard hit Marathon Key. During the initial assessment of the Keys, the team was able to relay disaster recon information on impact and scope, as well as on the ground resources and command center locations to other response teams awaiting deployment in Atlanta. This mission led to the initial concept development of ‘Ground Zero Recon’ - a service line to insert team members to gather timely information in the immediate wake of a disaster event to help give other teams information that will be strategic for deploying assets.