Fed buildings closed due to power outages from Hurricane Irene

Sunday - 8/28/2011, 10:23pm EDT

This story has been updated from its original version.

By Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

Hurricane Irene brought down its fury on several federal buildings from Maryland to Massachusetts this weekend.

The General Services Administration reports two buildings in Maryland, two in Massachusetts, and one in North Carolina are without power and therefore closed.

A GSA official told Federal News Radio all closures are power related and the agency is working with local power companies to restore electricity as soon as possible.

The official said once power is restored, GSA will update its website, but it's up to each individual agency to decide whether employees should report to work.

In Maryland, the closed buildings are:

  • H. Wiley Federal Building, College Park,
  • FRC Building 130 OFC, Silver Spring
  • 1415 Magellan Rd., Baltimore
  • 2709 Rolling Rd., Commerce Center, Catonsville

In Massachusetts, the closed buildings are:

  • Hastings Keith Federal Building, New Bedford,
  • U.S. Customs House, New Bedford.

In New Jersey, the closed building is:

  • USDA Office, Woodbury

In New York, the closed buildings:

  • Child Care Center - 26 Federal Plaza, New York
  • Child Care Center - Addabbo Building, Jamaica

In North Carolina, the closed building is:

  • USPS & Courthouse, New Bern

In Virginia, the closed buildings are:

  • 4300 Crossing Blvd., Prince George
  • Robinhood Rd., Norfolk
  • 21321 Hull St., Moseley
  • 3811 Corporate Rd., Petersburg
  • 1606 Santa Rosa Rd., Richmond
  • Portsmouth Federal Building, Portsmouth

The Office of Personnel Management also updated the Washington, D.C. operating status for Monday. OPM said the government is open, but employees can take unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework.

"Please consult your agency or supervisor for the most up-to-date information on the status of your workplace," OPM stated on its website.

GSA maintains or manages more than 9,600 buildings across the country but not every agency works in a building that is run by the Public Building Service.

Federal response to Hurricane Irene

"I'm going to make sure that DHS and FEMA and other federal agencies are doing everything in their power to help folks on the ground," said President Barack Obama during a news conference Sunday. "I continue to meet regularly with Secretary [Janet] Napolitano and Administrator [Craig] Fugate and the other members of my team to assess our response and ensure that we have what we need in place."

The Homeland Security Department and FEMA are in the second phase of the storm - response, and are quickly moving into phase three - recovery.

"Damage assessments are under way throughout the East Coast," said Napolitano during a press briefing earlier Sunday. "I talked to Gov. Bev Perdue in North Carolina about doing damage assessments. We will conduct damage assessments in all the states affected by Hurricane Irene and determine the area of the storm's impact and the next steps."

Fugate said it will take a number of days to compute the total cost of damage as it relates to the uninsured and the government's responsibility.

Many agencies continue to respond to the aftermath of the hurricane.

The Army Corps of Engineers' Temporary Emergency Power mission continues as power teams have been deployed to Incident Support Bases (ISBs) in Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina and Maryland. Power teams consist of planning and response teams, the 249th Prime Power battalion and designated resource support staff.

The Department of Energy's Response Center has been activated, providing real-time monitoring on power outages and other energy-related aspects of the storm. Energy provides the public with reports on the critical energy infrastructure impacted by the storm, as well as outage and restoration data, through Emergency Situation Reports.

The Department of Defense has positioned defense coordinating officers at FEMA's national response coordination center in Washington and in FEMA regional response coordination centers in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Atlanta to support and coordinate any requests for defense assets and personnel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention activated the public health radio network which provides CDC, state, territorial, and local health departments with non-infrastructure dependent redundant communications capability - a backup method of communication when all else fails.

RELATED STORIES:

What feds should know after the storm

Agencies collaborate before, during, after Irene

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