June 1 is the official start of hurricane season, and The Salvation Army is urging families to get prepared now. Dr. Bill Gray’s April 2010 hurricane forecast predicts that this year’s Atlantic hurricane season will have significantly more activity than the average season. Gray estimates that 2010 will have 15 named storms, 8 of which will become hurricanes with 4 becoming major hurricanes.
The Salvation Army’s Southern Territory, which serves 15 southeastern states and the District of Columbia, is joining with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and local and state emergency management agencies, to urge residents who live in areas susceptible to hurricanes to prepare now.
“Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services has to be a team effort,” said Major C. Mark Brown, Community Relations & Development Secretary. “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 tornadoes and floods across the southeastern United States.”
The Salvation Army is currently providing disaster relief and recovery assistance related to tornados and flooding in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Kentucky and Tennessee. Additionally, relief and recovery work related to the Haitian Earthquake will continue for the foreseeable future.
The Salvation Army continues to strengthen and enhance its own emergency readiness. Including training for disaster volunteers, maintaining a fleet of emergency response vehicles, and pre-positioning of critical supplies, such as clean-up kits, in disaster warehouses.
The Salvation Army’s Southern Territory has:
234 mobile feeding units, each capable of producing approximately 1,500 meals per day, strategically placed throughout the southeastern United States.
4 tractor-trailer field kitchens, each capable of producing 15,000 meals, stationed in Tampa, FL, Jackson, MS and Dallas, TX.
4 satellite communications trailers stationed in Atlanta, GA, Charlotte, SC, Jackson, MS, and Tampa, FL. A communications bus is stationed in Dallas, TX.
5 disaster warehouses with a total of 332,500 square feet of storage space for disaster supplies. Warehouses are located in Arlington, TX, Beaumont, TX, Jackson, MS, Ridgeland, SC and Tampa, FL. The Jackson disaster warehouse was opened this year and the new warehouse in Arlington, TX, represents a significant expansion over a previous facility.
For more information on disaster training and volunteer opportunities please visit www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org. The Salvation Army also offers specialized training for church leaders on emotional and spiritual care in disasters and how to prepare church congregations for emergencies.
The Salvation Army also stresses the need for personal preparedness, “Government, charities, faith-organizations and private industry are all working together. But we can’t do it alone. We have to engage the general public so that every family has a personal disaster preparedness plan and is also ready to help their neighbors, especially the elderly or those with special needs in an emergency,” stated Jeff Jellets, Emergency Disaster Services Director of The Salvation Army Southern Territory.
For more information on personal preparedness, The Salvation Army recommends visiting www.greathurricaneblowout.org (sponsored by the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes) or www.hurricanesafety.org (sponsored by the National Hurricane Survival Initiative).
The Salvation Army’s disaster relief work began in the United States as the result of hurricane response. In 1900, The Salvation Army mobilized to offer food, water, clothing and other basic necessities to the survivors of the great Galveston Hurricane. Since then, The Salvation Army has become one of the most reliable and active providers of disaster relief in the country.
For more information about The Salvation Army emergency disaster services program or to support The Salvation Army’s emergency relief efforts, please visit www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY, or contact your local Salvation Army Corps. For current information on Salvation Army disaster activities, follow us on Twitter @SalArmyEDS.