At the height of the hurricane response effort, approximately 1,200 interagency firefighters organized by the U.S. Forest Service were sent to the impacted areas to provide assistance to communities in need. There are many incredible stories to tell of their work, with one fine example coming from a team dispatched from Portland, Ore.
The Task Force’s primary job was to find, bring in, track and push out hundreds of pieces of heavy equipment to help beleaguered New Yorkers unbury themselves after the storm. As of November 10th, NIMO and the Task Force pushed over 2700 pieces of private and military equipment onto the streets of New York City to help in the clean-up.
In an effort to try and bring some structure to the debris removal process, Forest Service firefighters use familiar tools and technical language helping aid workers from New York to work effectively with NIMO teams.
“Some team flexibility was necessary,” said Kris Eriksen. “A willingness to use language familiar to New York emergency responders instead of the ICS nomenclature with which teams are most familiar and the Portland team found a group of very professional, very skilled and very welcoming New Yorkers, willing to accept what the team had to offer.”
Grapplers, dump trucks, front end loader, roll on-roll offs, large dumpsters, skid steers, backhoes, self-loaders, long haul trucks, railroad cars and barges were all part of the huge push of heavy equipment thrust onto the streets of New York City to try and get all five boroughs cleaned up.
The debris was not only from homes that were destroyed, but a large part of recovery was putting the beach back where it started. Cleaning, sorting, sifting and returning sand that covered portions of Rockaway, Staten Island and many other areas are still underway. It’s estimated that over 3,600,000 cubic yards of debris will be the result of Hurricane Sandy, and removing it is far from over.
To find out more about how you can help the residents of New York City recover from Hurricane Sandy, click here.