New York Governor fires emergency manager in wake of Hurricane Sandy

Steven Kuhr

Steven Kuhr. Photo: state of New York

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has fired his emergency management director for misusing state workers during the Hurricane Sandy crisis. According to reports, Steven Kuhr, the director of the State Office of Emergency Management, diverted a government crew to remove a fallen tree from his Long Island home’s driveway after the hurricane hit the area.

Before that poor decision, Mr. Kuhr had been earning $153,000 a year since he was appointed by Governor Cuomo in October 2011 as Executive Deputy Commissioner of the state Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. He also served as Director of the State Office of Emergency Management. Mr. Kuhr had previously run an emergency management consulting firm. Before that he had worked for the city of New York for about 20 years in a variety of jobs including deputy director for operations and planning for the Office of Emergency Management and as a chief and division captain of E.M.S. special operations at the Fire Department.

The termination came after the Governor had bitterly criticized utility companies for what he said was slow progress in restoring electricity to customers in the southern part of the state.

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Update on firefighters’ response to Hurricane Sandy

 

Laguna Hotshots clearing a road in West Virginia

Laguna Hotshots clearing a road in West Virginia

There has not been much change since yesterday in the number of wildland firefighters that are assisting with the recovery from Hurricane Sandy in the eastern United States. There are still 11 Incident Management Teams, 40 hand crews, and about 1,100 personnel that have been mobilized through the National Interagency Coordination Center in Boise.

Some of the tasks they are working on include:

  • Operating a receiving and distribution center.
  • Using chain saws to clear debris off roads.
  • Supporting chain saw crews that are clearing roads.
  • Supporting a FEMA Community Relations Base Camp
  • Managing points of distribution.
  • Developing plan for debris removal.
  • Operating a mobilization center.
The photo of the Laguna Hotshots above came from their web site (which automatically plays country music when you visit the site). The other photos below were supplied by the National Incident Management Organization (NIMO). If you have photos of the crews in action, send us a copy.
Hotshots being briefed in New York

Hotshots being briefed at a Logistical Staging Area in New York

Logistical Staging Area in New York

Logistical Staging Area in New York

Bill Hahnenberg debris removal NYC Sandy

Bill Hahnenberg (on the right), Incident Commander of the Portland NIMO IMTeam, planning debris removal with a NYC official

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11 IMTeams and 41 crews assisting in hurricane recovery

Hurricane Sandy IMT locations, November 5, 2012

The Eastern Area Coordination Center reports that 1,125 people are assigned to incidents in the Eastern Geographic Area, however some of those may be working on incidents unrelated to Hurricane Sandy. But this number does include 11 incident management teams and 41 crews of firefighters that are assigned to hurricane recovery.

Three NIMO Incident Management Teams are assigned:Resources assigned in Eastern Area, November 6, 2012

  • Quesinberry: Is assigned to provide support to Nassau County, NY.
  • Kleinman: Is supporting development and management of staging areas in New York City.
  • Hahnenberg: Is assigned to the Office of Emergency Management in Brooklyn, NY.

Two Type 1 Incident Management Teams are assigned:

  • Wilder: Is managing road clearing operations throughout West Virginia.
  • Opliger: Is managing a staging area at Fort Dix, NJ.

Six Type 2 Incident Management Teams are assigned:

  • Pisarek: Is managing a mobilization, and receiving and distribution centers in Farmingdale, NY.
  • Dueitt: Is assisting FEMA operations in the New York City area.
  • Kollmeyer: Is assigned to provide support to Nassau County, NY.
  • Graham: Is assigned to Charleston, WV.
  • West: Is assigned to Charleston, WV.
  • Fry: Is overseeing road clearing operations in New Jersey

Below is an interesting photo that the New York City Fire Department posted on their Facebook page showing most of the southern part of Manhattan blacked out due to the hurricane.

NYC partially blacked out

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11 IMTeams and 22 crews working on hurricane recovery

At least 11 Incident Management Teams and 22 hand crews are assigned in the eastern United States helping with the recovery from Hurricane Sandy. The numbers provided by various sources vary somewhat, and may be due to some of the resources not being dispatched through the National Interagency Coordination Center, such as an IMTeam from Maine that does not show up on the list below which is from the the Eastern Area Coordination Center. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Hurricane Sandy, IMTeams assigned, 11-3-2012

The crews are working in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut.

The Missoulian has an article about more crews headed that way today.

If you have photos of these firefighters in action, send them to us through our Contact Us page. Please include a brief description of the photo, the location, and the date. You can send one photo with each message; if you have lots of photos, send us a message through the Contact page and we’ll give you our email address.

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Hurricane Sandy, firefighting resources update, November 1, 2012

The primary mission of these firefighters is debris removal and road clearance for electrical power personnel.

Hurricane Sandy Firefighting Resources Committed as of November 1, 2012 at 0600.

Connecticut

  • Incident Management Team Type 2 (Grant)
  • Two Type 2IA Crews (MI & MN)

New York

  • Three Type 2 Crews
  • Two Type 1 Interagency Hotshot Crews (Cherokee short IHC, and Augusta short IHC)
  • Five 2 person Saw Crews
  • Two Incident Management Team Type 2: (Pisarek) operating at East Farmingdale, and the Maine IMTeam (IC Jeff Currier) operating in Brooklyn.
  • NIMO (National Incident Management Organization) (Quesenberry) assigned to support Nassau County NY.
  • NIMO (Kleinman) assigned to NYC Mob Center in route
  • NIMO (Hahnenberg) assigned to NY State Coordination Center in route

Massachusetts: Fort Devens

  • Incident Management Team Type 2 (Kollmeyer)

Pennsylvania: Harrisburg

  • Incident Management Team Type 1 (Wilder)
  • Two Type 2 crews
  • Five IHC Crews (Fulton, Breckenridge, Los Padres, Palomar, Laguna) arriving 11/1/12

West Virginia: Charleston

  • Type 2 IA Crew

It is interesting that none of the Incident Commanders listed on the web site for the four NIMO teams are participating in this incident. At least one of them, Steve Gage, has moved to another job. There is no way to tell when the web site was last updated. We are checking on this and will have more information later about the NIMO teams.

HERE is a link to a five-minute podcast Jennifer Jones, a Public Affairs Specialist with the USFS in Boise did yesterday with Steve Gage, the new Assistant Director for Operations with the USFS at NIFC, about using IMTeams and fire crews to help with hurricanes and other non-fire emergencies.

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Hurricane Sandy, firefighting resources update, October 31, 2012

Here is the latest information we have gathered from the National Interagency Fire Center and the Eastern Area Coordination Center concerning the firefighters and incident management teams that are assisting with the recovery from Hurricane Sandy.

This is a very fluid situation. Some resources are arriving at one location and being reassigned in another state. The list is probably not complete or 100 percent accurate, but it will give you an idea of how wildland firefighters are assisting with the recovery.

Firefighting Resources Committed:

Massachusetts:

  • Team: one short Type 2 Incident Management Team (Grant), staged at Fort Devens, MA.
  • Crews: two Type-2 IA fire crews (MI and MN); staged at Fort Devens, MA.

New York:

  • Teams: One short Type 1 IMT (Pisarek) is operating a supply depot. Also en route or arrived are three National Incident Management Organization Teams (NIMO) (Quesenberry, Hahnenberg, and Houseman; Dan Kleinman is the IC on the Houseman team)
  • Crews: Cherokee IHC Short Crew, Augusta IHC, and five 2 person Saw Crews
  • Buying Team: one is assigned to work remotely supporting IMTs.

Pennsylvania:

  • Team: one Type 1 IMT (Wilder) at Middletown, PA is operating a mobilization center.
  • Crews: four crews are en route or have arrived in PA (Laguna IHC, Palomar IHC, Los Padres IHC, and Breckenridge IHC) ; two of them will probably be reassigned to NY

HERE is a link to a five-minute podcast Jennifer Jones, a Public Affairs Specialist with the USFS in Boise did yesterday with Steve Gage, the new Assistant Director for Operations with the USFS at NIFC, about using IMTeams and fire crews to help with hurricanes and other non-fire emergencies.

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