FCAM Technical Rescue Committee Incident After-Action Report
Requesting Agency: ESF-9
Incident Location: Commonwealth of Mass, Statewide, Hurricane Henri
Date: 8/20-24, 2021 Time: 07:00 Weather: Cloudy, Rain. Wind
Type of Incident: Hurricane preparedness for ESF-4/9 Swift/Moving Water, Structural Collapse/Wide Area Search, HART
Agencies Involved: MEMA, DFS, FCAM, Technical Rescue Regions I, II, III, IV, V, NGB
I/C Name: N/A Radio Channel: N/A
Tech Team Leader: ESF-4/9 Tech Team Operations: N/A
Tech Team Safety: N/A Tech Team Liaison Chief: Nord
Civilians Injured: 0 Civilian Killed: 0
Tech Team Injured: 0 Tech Team Killed: 0
Team Members on Scene: N/A
Equipment Used: N/A
Incident Overview: The National Weather Service early predictions on Friday August 20, 2021 indicated land fall of Category 1 Hurricane Henri in Southeastern Mass. The track ultimately shifted west and came ashore in Westerly RI, running northwest through RI, CT, to NY, ultimately lessening in strength to a tropical storm causing wide spread rain and some damaging wind to Central and Western Mass. TS Henri tracked eastward on day 2 and eventually ran across the top of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts exiting on August 23, 2021 or day 3.
Operational Narrative: DFS, Dave Clemons representing ESF4/9 assembled a conference call and maintained communications from stakeholders with which Chief‘s Nord and Mansfield collaborated and maintained communications with the Points of contact (POC) in all TR Regions. Those POC’s began assembling team rosters based upon personnel availability for SW Teams, with numbers of personnel available, number of teams available and the typing of each team for response purposes. TR Region POC’s within hour’s mustered resources to respond out of Region if necessary, while being mindful of Hurricane Henri’s unpredictability and ensuring there were enough resources still available in their home regions as well.
Due to early predictions, It was determined that the Southeast Massachusetts Technical Rescue Teams were going to have to remain in their area and planned to pre-stage assets in three (3) different locations on the South Shore.
After conversations with the Chief Liaisons in each County of the SE Massachusetts Region, that plan remained until reliable data from the National Weather Service indicated that Hurricane Henri had changed course and would make landfall storm to the southwest of Massachusetts and outside the Commonwealths jurisdiction.
Original response plan focus was placed on the Buzzards Bay area, Cape Cod and the Islands. Being on the leeward side of the hurricane rotation, these areas were spared from damage and significant beach erosion.
The change in Hurricane Henri’s track re-directed the potential response focus to the Central Massachusetts Region III and the Western Massachusetts Region IV due to the potential for up to 8” of rainfall and the increased potential for floods and flash floods in those areas.
Technical Rescue Teams from Region II (MBHSA) and Region V (NEMTRT) were best suited to respond either South or West and maintained situational awareness throughout the event with committed assets.
Chief Liaisons in the Central Mass Region III and Western Mass Region IV were very helpful in their situational awareness as it was predicted that the rainfall would affect the many rivers and tributaries that are prone to flooding. Conference calls and communications were maintained throughout the storm and adjustments were made as Henri changed in direction and intensity. NGB staffed JBCC and set up 2 BH for HART missions and Technicians were mobilized for this asset.
Region I: Chief Kevin Nord
Region II: Lt Francis Otting
Region III: Chief Matt Belsito
Region IV: Deputy Peter Jerusik
Region V: Chief Mike Mansfield
Regional Assets Rostered:
TR Region I SEMTRT: Seven Swiftwater Teams, Structural Collapse and Wide Area Search.
MA-HART: One Type 1 Team
TR Region II MBHSA: Two Type 2 Swiftwater Teams
TR Region III Central Mass: Three Type 3 Swiftwater Teams
TR Region IV Western Mass: N/A
TR Region V NETRT: Two Type 3 Swiftwater Teams
- Able to support ESF-9 and ESF-4 without reducing local capability.
- Prepared to retrieve and treat victims from Hurricane Henri.
- Able to roster, muster and potentially deploy anywhere in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to support other regions in the state as well as support any potential EMACS from other New England States.
- Ability to deploy a trained Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team across the State.
- Utilization of a Fire Mobilization Plan for communications and transfer of teams.
- Capability to operate initially, and for 24 to 72 hours without dependence on Federal assets.
- Reliance on local and regional intelligence for the areas they serve to pre-plan response based on probabilities.
- SEOC/ESF-4/9 providing a strong leadership role in assisting with situational awareness and providing useful intelligence to the local and regional assets that were involved.
- Can do attitude from the Regional POC’s and solving problems and anticipating shortfalls.
Areas of Improvement:
- Future development of Swiftwater response capabilities in Western Mass Region IV
- Provide WMIMT insight of full capability of Statewide Technical Rescue Concept
Report Name: Chief Kevin Nord, Liaison Chief for Statewide TR