The Salvation Army Stands Ready for Hurricane Season 04/06/2009
Atlanta, GA - With June 1 being the official start of hurricane season, The Salvation Army is preparing for an active season. Dr. Bill Grey's April 2009 hurricane forecast calls for 12 tropical storms, 6 of which will become hurricanes with 2 becoming major hurricanes. However, even if the season is relatively quiet, just one strong storm could pose a serious threat and cause catastrophic damage if it makes landfall in a populated area.
The Salvation Army has taken several steps this year to strengthen and enhance its emergency readiness. This includes the hosting of training sessions and disaster response conferences, acquisition of new equipment, the integration of a GPS tracking system on every working mobile feeding unit (canteen) in the Southern Territory, and pre-positioning of non-perishable food and supplies.
Each year, The Salvation Army hosts and participates in dozens of disaster trainings and conferences throughout the United States for both Salvation Army personnel and representatives from other agencies.
"Salvation Army Emergency Disaster relief has to be a team effort," said Jeff Jellets, Southern Territorial EDS Coordinator. "We are ready, trained and equipped to do the most good for any community hit by devastation. This is not just for hurricanes, as our units have already been extremely active this year with ice storms, brush fires, tornadoes and man made disasters across the South Eastern United States."
As another preparation, almost every canteen has now been fitted with an upgraded GPS tracking device allowing our command units to see where the equipment is and most importantly, the reliable movement of reinforcements to existing relief coverage, as well as the breakout of new disaster needs. In addition, stockpiles of food, water, and cleaning supplies ‘kits' have been strategically placed throughout the southern and eastern United States to ensure that supplies are ready immediately a disaster hits. This would apply to any given community.
Other improvements include refurbishing a 48 foot mobile field kitchen that was only recently released from the Mississippi Gulf coast, where it had been serving since Hurricane Katrina. The field kitchen is capable of producing up to 20,000 meals a day and will be stationed at a new Salvation Army disaster warehouse in Jackson, MS. The vehicle is one of 5 field kitchens stationed in states stretching from Texas to Florida.
The Salvation Army first officially responded to the deadly Galveston, TX, hurricane in 1900. "We haven't looked back since, with many disasters, large and small where a few or several thousand were affected" said Jellets. The Salvation Army is one of the most experienced and active providers of disaster relief in the country. This year alone, the Army has already responded to many incidents. The Salvation Army has provided thousands of meals and drinks, medical and cleaning supplies, as well as spiritual and emotional care and support to disaster survivors across the country.
Anyone wishing to make a donation to support The Salvation Army's emergency relief efforts may do so by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY, by visiting www.salvationarmyusa.org or by contacting their local Salvation Army Corps.