Rescuers : Steven Heicklen
Steven Heicklen is a FEMA-certified Emergency Manager, a member of a USAR search and rescue team, a firefighter and an Emergency Medical Technician.
Heicklen first became involved in disaster response in 2004 when severe floods ravaged his home town in Medford Lakes, New Jersey. Thirteen inches of rain over 6 hours caused catastrophic failures of many dams in the region. Heicklen volunteered his expertise, equipment and staff and orchestrated the cleanup of one of three major roadways through the town. Since that time, Heicklen has been involved with various NGOs in the responses to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Hurricane Gustav in Alabama and Hurricane Ike in Texas where his efforts included debris removal and the setting up of PODs (Points of Distribution) to service the needs of up to 50,000 people in surrounding population centers. In 2010, Heicklen was involved in responding to the earthquake disaster in Haiti.
Through his pool installation and maintenance business, Heicklen has developed expertise with heavy excavation equipment, debris removal, and inspecting and working with concrete — skills that have served well in his work in disaster response and search and rescue. Heicklen credits his experience as an entrepreneur for helping him recognize that he has a talent for getting things done and taming chaos — a talent that is handy in disaster situations.
Responding to the Haiti earthquake, Heicklen served as Disaster Coordinator for a team of medical professionals that flew into Haiti and took over a hospital in the southern part of the stricken nation. Team Ange (“Angel”) performed hundreds of surgeries, treated thousands of patients and secured treatment for 8 critically-injured Haitians in America.
Since returning from the Haiti mission, Heicklen formed his own NGO, Americas Disaster Reaction Team. Staying busy, he has settled back into his role as a business owner and family man to wife, Jen and his four kids. Unfortunately, he is always awaiting the next disaster.