RICHLAND, Wash. - Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast one month ago. The HAMMER Training Center in Richland was the home base for a team that helped with power restoration and other energy needs. Eight of those responders were locals from the Tri-Cities.
"When you don't have power your world stops," said responder Russ Haffner.
Millions of people were without power following Sandy's landfall. Some were in the dark for weeks.
"Our goal is to get that power up as soon as possible, trying to identify where the problems are and get the right responders to the right places," Haffner said.
"DOE was a very crucial player for Hurricane Sandy because energy and power restoration became a huge focus and we were tasked to do a lot of things that were bigger than we'd done in the past so we were able to be successful," said Nicole Zawadzki of the Department of Energy.
The Emergency Support Function #12 Team is made up of men and women from D.O.E. offices and national labs across the country. Their emergency response training comes from HAMMER.
"There was a lot of stress and a lot of heartbreak. That's, I think, why a lot of us do this. We just realize the impact is has on people's lives and the opportunity to help get some normalcy back," Haffner said.
"They have to take weeks out of their day jobs and be away from their family and be out in sometimes very challenging circumstances. It makes me feel proud and I admire every single one of them and I'm proud to be a member of the team," Zawadzki said.
The eight local team members spent weeks on the East Coast. Between them, they logged more than 800 hours.
Tuesday, May 21 2013 2:40 AM EDT2013-05-21 06:40:56 GMT
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