Institute for Water Resources

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Value to the Nation

Emergencies: Disaster Preparedness

Corps personnel prepare year-round so they are ready to respond quickly and effectively when disasters strike. The three core components of our preparation are:

  • Training. The Corps maintains 43 Planning and Response Teams, stationed around the country to facilitate a rapid response to any disaster, no matter where it occurs. To prepare these teams, the Corps continually conducts disaster response training simulations. Corps personnel also participate in regional training exercises with other agencies.
  • Resources. The Corps has established a sophisticated system for analyzing previous disasters, geological conditions, weather and other factors to target potential disaster areas nationwide. Based on this analysis the Corps uses a state-of-the-art computer tracking system to position personnel, supplies and equipment in areas where they will be able to respond most quickly to disasters. Additionally, the Corps undergoes inspection of flood control works constructed by the Corps. It also inspects non-federally constructed dams and flood control projects.
  • Equipment. The Corps has developed a national fleet of emergency response vehicles designed to serve as field offices. These vehicles contain cutting-edge communication systems and automated data processing equipment. All of the units are self-sustaining and generator-powered. They are strategically stationed within 18 hours of most areas of the country.

Careful preparation and planning allows the Corps to respond almost immediately anywhere in the nation, even in the case of multiple disasters. When disaster strikes our response teams can be onsite within hours providing immediate relief and support. This rapid response, which saves countless lives and millions of dollars in damage every year, is possible because of the many hours spent planning and preparing.

Working with Others

Under the National Emergency Preparedness Plan the Corps and other federal partners conduct regular catastrophic disaster response exercises involving numerous federal, state, tribal and local agencies. During these exercises, emergency responders refine their ability to handle worst-case catastrophic disaster situations, including chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons attacks.