FORT BUCHANAN, Puerto Rico, Nov. 12, 2019 —
Preparing for the next presidential disaster declarations, Defense Logistics Agency Energy and the Federal Emergency Management Agency held a readiness drill at Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, Sept. 11.
“The purpose of the drill was to demonstrate our ability to support delivery of ground fuel products to designated locations,” said DLA Energy Contracting Officer Georgia Dotson. “These drills are carefully planned to ensure the capability is tested and evaluated in all FEMA regions covering all fifty U.S. states and territories.”
FEMA selects the location and timing of up to two readiness drills per year. This joint exercise scenario kicked off on Sept. 9 with simulated flooding created by a hurricane striking Puerto Rico. The scenario called for a four to eight inches of rain accumulation across the island, impacting river levels and creating flash floods and mudslides.
A formal interagency agreement for logistical support between DLA and FEMA is reviewed annually. As the executive agent for Class III products, petroleum, oil and lubricants, DLA Energy provides support to FEMA through its multipurpose fuel contingency contract with a designated fuel contractor.
“These readiness drills are extremely beneficial because they provide an opportunity for the key players to get together to practice,” Dotson explained. “So, if and when we are called upon, we are ready and at the top of our game.”
DLA Energy’s role included activation of the FEMA contingency fuel contract, ordering fuel trucks and 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel from the designated contingency contractor responsible for Puerto Rico, and providing representatives to evaluate contractor performance.
Brian Hill, a DLA Energy Americas East quality assurance representative, advised exercise participants during the drill.
“My role was to provide fuel support guidance to the FEMA Region II personnel who were on hand to evaluate the contingency contractor perform tank truck-to-tank wagon resupply and multiple retail operations,” Hill said. “The readiness exercise allows both FEMA and DLA Energy the opportunity to evaluate the contractor and answer/clarify any uncertainties in contract requirements.”
Over the last year, there were 94 disaster declarations according to FEMA’s disaster declaration website. A disaster declaration occurs when a regional area’s senior public official, (mayor, county judge or governor), issues a formal statement that a disaster or emergency situation exceeds their response capabilities.
“This exercise required a lot of planning and coordination between DLA Energy and FEMA officials, and reinforced the importance of good communication between the DLA Energy Direct Delivery Fuels division and the contingency contractors,” Dotson said. “It provided a great opportunity to train newly assigned personnel in customer operations for future disasters and contingency operations.”