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Local help vital in disasters

By submitted, 08/9/18 9:01 AM

HOPE – Hempstead County has been impacted by disasters of varying magnitudes.

These incidents can affect individual households, local communities, regions, states or the entire nation.  When a disaster occurs, neighbors and community organizations want to reach out and help, even when the county is not directly impacted by the event, such as our local response to Katrina. Although we all want to help, during the active disaster is not the best time to organize a community response as it may be hindered by the chaotic nature of the event. Communities are better served if a system is in place for coordination and collaboration before the disaster strikes.

There are already organizations whose purpose is to assist during disasters such as:

Emergency Responders – Fire, Police, EMS,

Government Partners – FEMA, Ark Dept of Emergency Management, Hempstead Co Emergency Management

Arkansas VOAD Partners – United Methodist Committee on Relief, Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief, Catholic Charities, Amateur Radio Emergency Service, All Hands Volunteers and organizations with a response mission such as the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

These organizations play an important part in disaster response and recovery but a local group involving non-profit agencies, civic groups, area businesses, schools, faith-based organizations, our local Red Cross and Salvation Army chapters and other community stakeholders promotes local preparedness and recovery efforts.  This results in an organized resource that can be deployed in a timely and effective manner but Emergency Management must know who to contact in your organization and what types of assistance you may offer.  If you are a civic club, church organization or other private-non-profit group and would like to participate in Hempstead Counties COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disasters) your participation will not commit you to anything except to provide this information in our effort to develop a database to be used after an incident.

If you are part of an organized group who may have something to offer during or after a disaster, please contact the Hempstead County Office of Emergency Management, Cindy Kliemann at 870-722-5408.