Greenville, NC (August 31, 2011)– Emergency Disaster Response (EDS) Teams for The Salvation Army are relying on a mix of modern technology and old fashioned experience to serve people impacted by Hurricane Irene. As Hurricane Irene slammed the coast of North Carolina as a Category 2 storm, her winds knocked out power and phone service, land lines and cell, across the state and further north.
More than 35 Salvation Army emergency feeding teams responding from NC, SC, GA, FL, LA, MS and TN were being closely monitored and tracked en route via GPS systems. Teams continue to be tracked via GPS while serving across east coast. While no longer a new technology, GPS tracking units on Salvation Army response equipment are a more recent addition. GPS tracking systems continue to prove instrumental in the response to Hurricane Irene as Salvation Army teams serving on the Outer Banks and areas along the Sounds of Pamlico and Albemarle have spotty cell phone service at best.
Major Willis Howell, Salvation Army Divisional Commander for North and South Carolina, states “Stable communications is essential to an organized and effective response. We must be able to communicate with our teams in the field, to make certain we are serving where needed and to ensure our personnel are safe.”
When The Salvation Army reported to its Hurricane Irene Operations Center in Greenville NC, the response coordination team found an area struggling without power or phone service across much of Pitt County. Fortunately, the team was prepared with the right technology to overcome the obstacle. The Salvation Army disaster response team travels with a complete Emergency Communications System that includes a satellite network to support phones and internet. In the instance of a complete power outage, the SATCOM system can operate from a standard generator, which is incorporated into the SATCOM trailer.
Needs Assessment Teams traveling throughout the impacted areas are equipped with hand-held satellite phones that enable them to report back to the coordination team and ensure resources are mobilized and deployed as needed.
The Salvation Army is also relying on social media, turning to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other channels to get the word out about available services, locations of services and resources needed to support the response and relief efforts.
The Salvation Army has 37 mobile feeding kitchen canteens throughout the coastal region that are traveling in service and positioned as stationary feeding sites. Through Tuesday, Salvation Army feeding teams have exceeded 105,000 meals, snacks and drinks served to people in need (some EDS Teams have not reported due to lack of cell service in remote areas). 355 people have been provided with safe shelter. During times of extreme need, people turn to The Salvation Army for emotional and spiritual care. To date, The Salvation Army has prayed with 929 people as part of its mission driven response and service.
While the NC effort is still focused on emergency response and mass feeding, The Salvation Army in Hampton Roads, VA is converting its service delivery to long-term casework. Trained personnel will work with families and individuals to identify and address their long-term needs as the recovery process moves forward. The Salvation Army in Hampton Roads provided over 17,000 meals, drinks and snacks following the strike of Hurricane Irene.
Relief efforts will continue throughout the impacted region. Salvation Army officers and staff will continue to focus on immediate needs of providing food, hydration, and emotional and spiritual care to impacted individuals and families.
The Hurricane Irene command center for the coordination of Operations and Response is located at 2718 South Memorial Drive in Greenville NC (no public services provided at this address).
The best way to help survivors and relief workers is to make a financial contribution. Monetary donations allow disaster responders to immediately meet the specific needs of disaster survivors.
The Salvation Army asks people who want to help those affected by Hurricane Ireneto visit www.salvationarmycarolinas.orgor call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769). Donors may also contribute $10 via their phone bill by text messaging the word STORM to 80888, and confirming the donation with the word, “Yes.” Checks may be made out to The Salvation Army Disaster Relief,PO BOX 1959 Atlanta, GA 30301. Please designate Hurricane 2011 on all checks.
At this point, in-kind donations are not being accepted. Used clothing and used furniture are seldom required during an incident. However, these gifts are vitally important in supporting the day-to-day work of your local Salvation Army. Please consider giving these items to your local Salvation Army Family Store or dial 1-800-SA-TRUCK (1-800-728-7825).
For the latest emergency disaster services news, please visit www.salvationarmycarolinas.org,
www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.organd follow the EDS team on Twitter @SalArmyEDS and @tsacarolinas and YouTube channel SalArmyEDS.
# # #
About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar The Salvation Army spends is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmycarolinas.org.About The Salvation Army