Corpsmembers Put Their Backs Into Hurricane Rebuilding

TV crews snap a photo of Corpsmembers before they depart Sacramento for St. Thomas USVI to help with rebuilding from hurricane damage.

SACRAMENTO, Calif – CCC Crews from Fortuna, Placer, and San Diego Centers left Saturday, November 4, to help with recovery from a series of destructive hurricanes. Corpsmembers will land over the weekend in Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and Texas to immediately get to work on removing downed trees that are preventing badly needed help from reaching residents.

Additionally, they will do demolition on molded wallboard and flooring in homes that were inundated with water.

The CCC is dispatching a total of 60 Corpsmembers this month to assist with hurricane cleanup- three crews of 12 are headed to Texas, St. Thomas and Puerto Rico. Much of the CCC’s hurricane cleanup work is funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency through the Corporation for National and Community Service.

“From fires to floods, these Corpsmembers are seeing it all in just a few weeks, and the work ahead of them is especially difficult,” said Bruce Saito, director of the California Conservation Corps.

The Corpsmembers – all of them 18 to 25 years old – have specialized muck and gut training to cut out wallboard and flooring without damaging a home’s framing and electrical. They must wear respirators and HazMat Coverall suits to avoid exposure to mold and contaminates.

Because of the tropical heat and humidity inside of buildings where there is no air conditioning, they must work 30 minute on/off shifts to avoid dehydration.

Many of the Corpsmembers bound for hurricane cleanup just returned from serving on the October outbreak of wildland fires throughout California. In fact, the CCC postponed sending the Corpsmembers to assist with the hurricane cleanup so that the Corps could support firefighters in-state.

“We know all too well the emotional impact that natural disasters such as fires and floods can deliver, and are both proud and glad that we are able to now send support to out-of-state neighbors,’ said Saito.