Jacksonville, Fla. — Naval Facilities Engineering Command's (NAVFAC) Reserve Contingency Engineering Unit (CEU) took significant steps toward developing a Contingency Engineering Response Team (CERT) to respond to disasters. The implementation and certification of a CERT team staffed by Reservists is a new milestone for NAVFAC. The Reserve CEU CERT team is comprised of individuals with significant construction experience in both military and civilian sectors.
"As part of their training, the CERT team assessed simulated damage to various buildings, developed damage assessment documentation and transmitted it to a mock emergency operations center for further transmission to higher headquarters for development of repair plans and cost estimates," said Don Maconi, NAVFAC Southeast contingency engineer.
Working closely with the Contingency Engineering Business Line from NAVFAC Southeast, the CERT trained for and responded to a simulated hurricane aboard Naval Air Station Jacksonville.
"The team brings the capability as a force multiplier to NAVFAC when they need us," said NAVFAC CEU Officer in Charge Capt. Darcy Wolfe. "Our team has really come together and is now operating as a cohesive unit."
Led by Cmdr. Lester Ortiz, the Reserve CEU CERT team has now trained, practiced and demonstrated their capability as an effective engineering response force.
"While most NAVFAC CERTs are comprised of civilian engineers serving as a collateral duty, the Reserve CEU CERT is dedicated year-round to the training and execution of the CERT mission, worldwide, wherever NAVFAC needs us," said Ortiz. "We plan to train in all potential disaster scenarios, not limiting ourselves to the specific hazards of any one region."
The use of reservists allows NAVFAC to deploy CERTs to semi-permissive environments inside or outside of the continental United States. Support missions inside the U.S. would also allow the CEU CERT to supplement civilian teams during large contingencies, or relieve them on site, allowing them to return to their regular jobs.
Currently the Reserve CEU CERT consists of 10 engineers and architects with additional members undergoing training. The team is adaptable and can be customized depending on the event, and team members can be deployed in as little as 72 hours after activation.