The Hurricane Maria Team comprises researchers and support staff primarily from NIST who are building on many decades of the agency’s experience investigating other disasters, both natural and human-induced. Brief bios of team members can be found on the Hurricane Maria Team page.
NIST staff are complemented by expertise from outside the agency. To get the most accurate information possible, the NIST team also is engaging directly or indirectly with municipalities (municipios); local and regional emergency management officials; building departments; power, transportation, and water and wastewater public utilities and agencies; education and healthcare officials and staff; and local, regional, and Commonwealth elected officials and civil servants as well as individuals. NIST also is interacting with manufacturers and other businesses and associations and academic institutions. Several teams of contractors, including experts based in Puerto Rico, are assisting NIST engineers, sociologists, economists, meteorologists, and other researchers who are carrying out the studies.
In addition, NIST is working with and involving other federal agencies in planning and carrying out its Hurricane Maria efforts, building on work by others who have gathered information and conducted assessments after the hurricane. That includes, but is not limited to:
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service, which has provided an expert in meteorology who serves as a formal member of the Hurricane Maria team working on the emergency communications and hazard characterization projects.
- The National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health (NCDMPH) Uniformed Services University, which has provided an expert in epidemiology who serves as a formal member of the Hurricane Maria team working on the project to better understand how damaged buildings and supporting infrastructure played a role in the injuries and deaths associated with the hurricane.
- The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), has shared information regarding their support of the health and social services recovery, focused on hospitals and schools. In addition, HHS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has provided an expert in epidemiology who serves as a scientific advisor of the Hurricane Maria team working on the project to better understand how damaged buildings and supporting infrastructure played a role in the injuries and deaths associated with the hurricane.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is assisting through formal information-sharing memoranda with exchanges of data, including information about the storm’s impact on critical buildings (hospitals and schools) from assessments performed under mission assignment by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. NIST joined with FEMA in late 2017 and contributed to that agency’s initial assessment and recovery advisories; that preliminary deployment informed NIST’s decision to launch its Hurricane Maria program.
- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has provided information about the storm’s impact on the power system and its recovery.
- The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which has provided information and insights on landslides associated with Hurricane Maria.
When the research portion of its effort is concluded, NIST will reach out to other federal agencies and all relevant public and private partners to encourage voluntary implementation of the recommendations in its final report.