A five-person team from Baltimore trained in debris clean-up left for Honolulu Wednesday morning as hurricane shelters for residents began opening, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Category 4 storm is expected to be the strongest hurricane to hit the chain of islands in more than 25 years.
The Baltimore District’s Debris Planning and Response Team is one of seven specially trained Army Corps of Engineers debris teams in the country. The team responds to disasters when requested by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide technical support, advice to local officials and physical assistance with debris removal.
More people could join Hawaii’s hurricane relief response depending on the severity of the storm damage. And Baltimore’s district could also lend its mobile communications vehicle to support radio, satellite and cellular communications. The vehicle returned to the contiguous U.S. earlier this year after aiding in hurricane relief in Puerto Rico.
In addition to helping with recent hurricane cleanup following hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, the Army Corps of Engineers debris experts from Baltimore have also supported debris removal efforts in New York after Hurricane Sandy and 9/11.