When Katrina struck, B&N was there. As part of a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team, B&N’s Mark Bernhardt, PE, was deployed on Saturday, August 27 to Meridian Naval Air Station in Mississippi in preparation for Hurricane Katrina.
Following the storm, Bernhardt and the rest of the 34-member USAR Ohio Task Force, moved into Pass Christian, Mississippi, 60 miles east of New Orleans. The team assessed more than 2,500 structures, rescued people trapped in buildings, provided medical attention to the injured and marked bodies for later recovery.
“This was my first deployment with FEMA USAR and I learned so much from the experience,” Bernhardt said. “The survivors we met were very appreciative of our efforts and I felt fortunate that I was able to contribute to the relief effort.”
Bernhardt, who is the Director of Facility Inspection at B&N, is a structural specialist on FEMA’s USAR Task Force in Ohio. He has received extensive training on collapse evaluation and shoring, working in hazardous material and weapons of mass destruction environments; search and rescue; SCBA and confined space operations; and the Federal Incident Command System.
While this was Bernhardt’s first deployment through FEMA, he and the other members of B&N’s emergency response teams have extensive experience responding to catastrophic events, including earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, fires and building and bridge collapses to provide rapid assessments of structural assets.
These teams are equipped to operate in an environment with limited support services and have been trained to use adapted rock climbing and industrial rope access techniques during emergency inspections. These techniques remove the need for heavy mechanical access equipment or extensive rigging to perform inspection work.
For more information on B&N’s Catastrophe Response Team, contact Mark Bernhardt, PE, at 614.459.2050, Ext. 415.