Little Rock District Supports Hurricane Michael Recovery

Did you know the Little Rock District has a group of employees deployed in support of Hurricane Michael recovery efforts?

The district has a primary and secondary Temporary Roofing Planning and Response Team.  These teams are commonly referred to as Blue Roof PRTs.  In all, about 53 employees from the district deployed with the PRT.

Olivia Crisp, a Little Rock District security assistant talks with  a resident of Panama City Fla, at a blue roof right of entry collection point. Residents have to sign a right of entry to their property before blue roof work can begin.

“Operation Blue Roof is a priority mission managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The purpose of Operation Blue Roof is to provide homeowners in disaster areas with fiber-reinforced sheeting to cover their damaged roofs until arrangements can be made for permanent repairs.  This is a free service to homeowners,” according to Emergency Management Specialist, Jim Marple.

“Operation Blue Roof protects property, reduces temporary housing costs, and allows residents to remain in their homes while recovering from the storm.  This program is for primary residences or a permanently occupied rental properties with less than 50 percent structural damage. Vacation rental properties are not eligible for the program.”

Once the blue roof is installed, the structure must be habitable.

Not all roof types qualify for the program. Roofs that are flat or made of metal or clay, slate or asbestos tile do not qualify. All storm debris must be removed for the roof to qualify.

The Corps’ blue roofs are temporary repairs, intended to last 30 days and provide the homeowner an opportunity to find a permanent fix. Blue roofs require a professional roofing team to install.

Roofing contractors apply blue roof material to a damaged structure. (Courtesy Photo)

When the team deploys there are numerous jobs the members can perform.  There are Action Officers, Mission Managers, Resident Engineers, Quality Assurance Supervisors, QA Team Leaders and Inspectors.

The term “Blue Roof” comes from the blue fiber-reinforced sheeting used to cover the damaged roofs.  FEMA normally arranges for the procurement and shipment of the plastic sheeting and in some cases furring strips and nails, to pre-designated staging areas.  The Corps accepts the material at the staging areas and manages the disbursement of the materials to the groups and organizations involved in the mission.

This Blue Roof mission for Hurricane Michael recovery will be a massive undertaking.  However, it will probably not be the largest operation on record.  The 2005 hurricane season became the largest Operation Blue Roof program ever with 193,000 roofs installed as a result of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.  The previous record was set in 2004 when 134,000 blue roofs were installed after Florida hurricanes Charlie, Frances, Jeanne, and Ivan.  After Katrina and Rita, the State of Louisiana became the largest single recipient of the season with 82,000 blue roofs.

Along with the Little Rock District, there are three other districts that have Temporary Roofing PRTs.  The districts are Nashville, St. Louis and Omaha.

The Little Rock Team last deployed in 2008 to Hurricane Ike in Houston, TX.  If you are interested in becoming a Blue Roof team member stop by the Emergency Management office to receive more information.