Paul Hannemann is leading a team of 39 emergency responders in coordinating Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts in New York.
The Lone Star State Incident Management Team, of which Hannemann is incident commander, deployed for the Big Apple on Dec. 26 and will serve three weeks before returning to Texas. The team is composed of Texas A&M Forest Service, City of San Antonio and City of Midland emergency responders.
Hannemann is a Fredericksburg native whose family has made Gillespie County home for more than a century. He serves as the chief of fire operations for Texas A&M Forest Service, the agency that assembled the Lone Star State IMT for the New York assignment.
The opportunity to serve the recovering boroughs of New York is a privilege, Hannemann said.
“I had the honor to work with the Fire Department of New York to develop the all-hazard incident management team curriculum and I’ve had the opportunity to train a number of FDNY folks,” he said. “We’ve worked with FDNY since 2001, so there’s some history.”
The partnership has served New York as well as Texas, he added.
“FDNY personnel have come to Texas to help us on wildfires since ’05-’06,” Hannemann said. “They’ve helped us; we’ve helped them. We’ve trained them and they’re putting that training to use. It’s come full circle.”
The 1974 graduate of Texas A&M University said the Incident Command System, which the incident management team uses as a business model, is a proven strategy for emergency response and disaster recovery.
“We come in and put a process in place and make sure everybody goes home safe,” he said. “This team is composed of multifunctional interdisciplinary and interagency personnel. We’re a very skilled team that brings a lot to the table when a community is in need.”
The team’s current mission in New York involves coordinating the New York Army National Guard’s effort to assess public needs and distribute commodities.
To date, the Guard has visited more than 102,000 households and delivered 6,317 blankets, 40,900 meals, 3,143 cases of water and 692 electric heaters. The group also is working to ensure that that every resident has a warm, safe, private place to stay.