Winter Storms in Eastern PA
The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services serves Philadelphia Region during Devastating Winter Storm
In the midst of a storm, The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) has often been among the first on the scene to help those affected. When a devastating winter storm hit the Delaware Valley last week, leaving hundreds of thousands of residents in the region without electricity, warmth, and food, The Salvation Army embodied their mission to do the most good for those in the most need.
On February 6, an ice storm hit the Delaware Valley, bringing down trees and power lines across the region. Resulting power outages initially left 600,000 homes across the region without power, impacting nearly 1.5 million individuals across the affected areas, according to utility providers. Complicating matters was a major gas fire in the City of Philadelphia, in which the EDS team was on the scene supporting first responder personnel, gas crews and evacuees, while also providing lunch on scene and at shelter locations.
After spending time coordinating with County Emergency Management Agencies (EMA’s), the Red Cross, and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), The Salvation Army went to work focusing relief efforts in Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks and Philadelphia counties, in addition to surrounding counties York and Lancaster who were also hit hard with power outages. Chester and Montgomery counties were in the greatest need, at one point with roughly 2/3 of each county without power.
“I must recognize my staff for all of their hard work over the last week,” said Robert Myers III, Emergency Disaster Service Director for The Salvation Army’s Eastern Pa. and Delaware Division. “In addition, service of this nature could not have been done without the dozens of volunteers who stepped up and assisted us over the last six days.”
The Salvation Army played an integral role in setting up warming centers with food for those displaced by the storm in Chester, Montgomery, Delaware, Lancaster, Coatesville and Pottstown. The Salvation Army Lebanon Corps Community Center opened as an emergency shelter and remained open for all in need of food and warmth.
Volunteers and officers provided breakfast, lunch, and dinner to individuals at the Montgomery County shelter located at Hatboro-Horsham High School, as well as the state-run mega shelter at West Chester University. The EDS team also supported West Chester University’s state-run shelter. In addition to these shelters, The Salvation Army deployed blankets, generators and MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) to several of their Corps Community Centers and Emergency Shelters to meet demand, including more than 2,736 meals, 525 snacks, 2,101 hot drinks, and 1,026 bottled and cold drinks. The Salvation Army distributed 330 blankets and 170 MRE’s to community members in need. Officers, volunteers, and staff contributed a total of 848 hours towards relief efforts.
Though The Salvation Army is looking into additional services that can be provided in recovery of the storm, they remain prepared to respond to the next round of winter weather expected to hit the region, with all EDS equipment back to its assigned location.
“Our division is blessed,” said Myers, “and for that we certainly thank the Lord for allowing us the opportunity to do his good work.”