Flooding in Delaware from Hurricane Sandy

Flooding in Delaware from Hurricane Sandy Randall Chase/AP

GSA rushes supplies to Sandy response teams

Employees work behind the scenes to procure equipment and assess damage to federal buildings.

The General Services Administration, using some 4,000 teleworking employees on days when Washington government offices were closed, has been fulfilling its role in standing federal emergency plans and rushing equipment and supplies to victims of Superstorm Sandy.

GSA acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini, in a blog post published Wednesday afternoon, said, “During a hurricane like Sandy, our role as a key support agency for the federal government is more important than ever.”

The agency’s Disaster Relief Program is providing federal agencies, state and local governments, and the nonprofit Red Cross accelerated access to such items as first responder equipment, food and medicine. GSA also has deployed information technology and telecommunications systems monitoring thousands of federal facilities in the path of the storm to assess damage and ultimately return all locations to full operation, Tangherlini wrote.

GSA employees have put in long hours and have done “tireless” work, he added. For example, in New York City, “on the roughest night of the storm, GSA employees opened up the Brooklyn Courthouse to house some of the NYC emergency workers,” he said.

In addition, at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, GSA procured 1,000 chainsaws to support Pennsylvania’s recovery efforts. It arranged for 34 shipments now in transit for sheeting, generators, pumps, portable toilets and handwashing stations.

The agency also is working to secure 100,000 square feet of office space for FEMA’s joint field office in the Northeast. And it seeking to identify options for pumping services to help clear flooded New York City transportation tunnels.