Pa. emergency agency pleased with response to ’11 storms

    In the year since Hurricane Irene and remnants of Tropical Storm Lee dealt a one-two punch to the commonwealth, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency is considering its response a job well done.

    To hear PEMA officials tell it, the state’s on-point response to last year’s storms wasn’t due to a wealth of resources.

    Rather, it was the smart use of limited resources.

    When it became clear the eastern part of the state would need more attention than the west, PEMA sent for its Pittsburgh and Erie flood response teams.

    Agency spokesman Cory Angell says New Jersey got hit right before the commonwealth, so PEMA sent a task force of ambulances to the Garden State to assist those in nursing homes and other special populations move out of harm’s way.

    “And then when they finished that mission, they turned right around, they came back here to Harrisburg,” he said. “And then they were used subsequently here in Pennsylvania to help with our citizens.”

    Angell says such agreements with bordering states allowed Pennsylvania to help — and be helped — as last year’s storms moved up the coast.

    In the event the next storm doesn’t free up a whole region of first response teams, Angell says the state may have to call upon its neighbors for help again.

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