Administrator Pistole recently visited the Federal Emergency Management’s (FEMA) Joint Field Office in Queens, New York to meet with TSA employees deployed to help survivors of Hurricane Sandy. Employees work 12-14 hour shifts, six days a week to expedite relief and recovery efforts.
“At considerable personal sacrifice, TSA employees are making a difference to some of the storm’s most devastated communities. They have put their lives on hold - from missing Thanksgiving with family to forgoing the comforts of home – for a deployment period that can last 45-days,” said Pistole.
Over 745 TSA employees, including Security Officers, Federal Air Marshals, Inspectors, and Administrative Support personnel, were mobilized, trained, and assigned to New York and New Jersey as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Surge Capacity Force to support catastrophic events like Hurricane Sandy. TSA volunteers represent 65 percent of the DHS force dispatched to the hard-hit region.
Following the storm’s aftermath, TSA employees participated in rescue and recovery efforts. Some went door-to-door sharing information on how to apply for FEMA disaster assistance and available resources while others staffed Disaster Recovery Centers to register residents needing assistance. From arranging rides for medical appointments to educating citizens of fraudulent contractor scams to handing out food, water, and blankets, TSA continues to offer a helping hand to those affected by Hurricane Sandy restore life back to a sense of normalcy.
After a long day, TSA personnel deployed to serve on the DHS Surge Capacity Force head out to eat and sleep in Merchant Marine training ships docked off the shore of Staten Island and the Bronx. Shared living quarters offer little privacy and feature triple-bunks – far less comfortable than the comfort of home.
Following his visit at the FEMA Call Center, Administrator Pistole boarded the T.S. Empire State VI to share a meal with TSA volunteers. “I couldn’t be more proud of their selflessness and patriotism. These volunteers exemplify the finest traditions of public service and dedication to duty,” said Pistole.