Emergency Management

Local Red Cross Services Available for Hurricane Katrina Evacuees
Posted By Sheri Badger on Sep 14th, 2005 at 11:40 AM

Tacoma, WA – September 14, 2005 – The American Red Cross continues to encourage hurricane evacuees who have arrived in Washington State to contact them for assistance. “American Red Cross chapters throughout Washington State have assisted over 467 families who have self-evacuated themselves from the Gulf Coast,” said Terri Giles, American Red Cross Emergency Services Director. “We have established Red Cross Service Centers and will continue to provide assistance based on each family’s specific emergency needs and resources.” Hurricane survivors who have made their way to Washington State should contact the local Red Cross chapter where they have relocated and make an appointment to learn about potential services that are available. (253) 474-0400 Pierce County (360) 352-8575 Thurston-Mason Counties (360) 748-4607 Lewis County (206) 323-2345 King County (360) 377-3761 Kitsap County (425) 252-4103 Snohomish County Those in need who cannot connect with a local Red Cross chapter may call the new Red Cross Assistance Call Center at 1-800-975-7585. To apply for aid, hurricane survivors calling in must be ready to provide their name, pre-storm address, ZIP code and home telephone number to call center agents. Callers must be prepared to write down a client identification number which they will take to a financial institution in their new community to receive assistance. Washington American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Response FAST FACTS* 467 Families Assisted 463 Red Cross Disaster Relief Workers 6,170 Meals & Snacks Served 1,844 People Have Attended a Red Cross Volunteer Orientation National American Red Cross Response to Hurricane Katrina FACTS AT A GLANCE* The American Red Cross is responding to an unprecedented natural catastrophe and devoting every resource to this humanitarian relief effort. Since Hurricane Katrina slammed ashore, the Red Cross has provided survivors nearly 2 million overnight stays in 709 shelters across 24 states and the District of Columbia. On Monday night, the Red Cross housed more than 61,500 survivors in 348 shelters and served more than 365,574 hot meals. Since Hurricane Katrina slammed ashore, the Red Cross has provided survivors nearly 2 million overnight stays in 896 shelters across 24 states and the District of Columbia. The Red Cross, in coordination with the Southern Baptist Convention, has served more than 8.3 million hot meals and more than 6.6 million snacks to survivors of Hurricane Katrina since the beginning of the disaster relief operation. To date, more than 134,000 people have received Red Cross Disaster Mental Health services. More than 92,000 trained Red Cross disaster relief workers from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have responded to help their neighbors in need. During this effort, the Red Cross has trained more than 75,000 people in specialized disaster relief skills. More than 182,000 people have registered on the Red Cross “Family Links Registry,” which is helping reconnect loved ones separated by Hurricane Katrina. To register, go to www.redcross.org or call 1-877-LOVED-1S. The American Red Cross is expanding the variety of its efforts to provide financial assistance to upwards of three quarters of a million Hurricane Katrina victims who are dispersed across the nation. Assistance is provided in a variety of ways, including client assistance cards, vouchers, checks and cash. The Red Cross is fulfilling urgent needs, turning donations into help faster than ever before. ### The American Red Cross is a non-profit, humanitarian agency dedicated to helping make families and communities safer at home and around the world. Governed by volunteers and supported by community donations, the American Red Cross is a nationwide network of nearly 900 field units dedicated to saving lives and helping people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Led by 1 million volunteers and 36,000 employees, the Red Cross annually mobilizes relief to families affected by more than 70,000 disasters, trains almost 12 million people in lifesaving skills and keeps U.S. military families connected worldwide. The Red Cross also assists victims of international disasters and conflicts at locations worldwide. For more information about your local Red Cross chapter, please visit www.redcrosswashington.org. Karen M. Kim Public Relations Specialist American Red Cross Mount Rainier Chapter Serving Pierce, Thurston, Mason & Lewis Counties Tacoma Office 1235 South Tacoma Way Tacoma, WA 98409 (253) 441-7646 Pierce County (360) 528-3346 Thurston-Mason Counties (360) 748-4607 ext. 7646 Lewis County (253) 416-0271 PAGER (253) 473-4843 FAX Rebuilding Lives, Restoring Hope http://www.rainier-redcross.org

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Search and rescue worker continues mission in New Orleans
Posted By Sheri Badger on Sep 13th, 2005 at 1:19 AM

Tacoma, WA – September 13, 2005 – [Deputy Dan Hudson of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department was vacationing in the San Juan Islands when he received a call from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to respond to the Gulf Coast hurricane disaster. Less than 24 hours later, he was in Shreveport, LA waiting for the storm to cross over the coastline, so Hudson and his team could enter the area to survey damage and provide assistance as required. Deputy Hudson filed the following report.] It was a long night as my team and I attempted to gain access to the (New Orleans) downtown core to assess the damage and see where we could apply resources. We had to settle for sending in rescue teams from the west boundary of the city. We worked through the night to establish a base and to launch our resources at first light. No sleep followed by blinding sun and heat. We were able to brief the teams at 7 a.m. and send them into the inundated core of the city. We have not looked back since and continue to send out resources every day. We have battled getting boat resources to help get our resources into the housing zones. I believe the press is oblivious to all that is going on. They are ensconced in the downtown core and away from 90 percent of the action. To date our crews have extracted more than 6,500 individuals as well as providing food, water, and ice to another 1,000 who refuse to leave. Resources are scarce, and getting interagency cooperation has been difficult. Enter the military, and now I am resource rich. On a particularly difficult day I called for buses to transport our folks, but the state would not provide them until I obtained police officers to put on the buses for security. I called the local jurisdictions and obtained only five law enforcement officers when I needed 50. The Army came to the rescue and offered to provide helicopters. Now it seems that FEMA has its own fleet of supporting Army and National Guard helicopters. We have divided the city into divisions and work in 27 geographical areas. As of three days ago we had hasty-searched 95 percent of the city and surrounding regions in St. Bernard Parish. We have also completed primary searches when we could access roofs and the doors or windows. We continue to pull people off roofs and out of structures throughout the city. We have had a working relationship and unified command here with the Coast Guard, Louisiana Air National Guard and Jefferson Parish and an intermittent relationship with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife. Last week I briefed the lieutenant governor. During the past three days, I have briefed Vice Admiral Allen of the US Coast Guard, a two-star general, a one-star General and about 40 colonels of Joint Task Force Katrina, which is the joint command post for all the helicopter assets here. Today I am happy with lots of resources starting to call us for assignment and tasking. Marines, Navy, Army and National Guard units hover around our command post. We have had great success and hope to continue the same. Dan Hudson

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Search and rescue work in Mississippi comes to an end for local task force
Posted By Sheri Badger on Sep 10th, 2005 at 12:52 PM

Tacoma, WA – September 10, 2005 – Contact: Jody Woodcock, Pierce County Emergency Management, 253-377- 0475 The Washington Urban Search and Rescue Task Force (WATF1) has completed its mission in Gulf Port, Mississippi. Members of the media are invited to welcome the team home at SeaTac International Airport on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2005. They are scheduled to arrive on a Delta Airlines flight at 12:12 p.m. Team members should arrive in the baggage claim area shortly thereafter. They will briefly be available for comment before heading home with their families. The 36 team members worked very hard on the Gulf Coast and were responsible for searching an area of 431 acres. The thing most striking to them was that citizens who lost homes lost everything  not just part of it, but all of it. Task force members report that the entire city and way of life there is destroyed.

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Hurrican Katrina update from Governor Gregoire’s office
Posted By Sheri Badger on Sep 9th, 2005 at 8:32 AM

Tacoma, WA – September 09, 2005 – Office of Governor Christine Gregoire FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  Sept. 8, 2005; 5:15 p.m. Contact: Rob Harper, Washington Emergency Management Division, 800-688- 8955 Washington State — Hurricane Katrina Update CAMP MURRAY, WASH. Gov. Christine Gregoire said today the current information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency is that Washington state may receive displaced people from the Hurricane Katrina disaster area sometime after September 14th. She noted that date is not firm, however, and that the state will receive daily updates on hurricane evacuee travel dates and numbers. The governor said Operation Evergreen planners are nearing final decisions on where Katrina guests will arrive and where a welcome center will be located for initial housing. Also today, Gov. Gregoire appointed Kurt Hardin of the Washington Emergency Management Division (EMD) as the State Coordinating Officer to oversee aid programs that are part of the national emergency response to Hurricane Katrina. The appointment came after Gregoire received notification late Wednesday that Washington state is included in the National Disaster Declaration. I am pleased that it looks like there may be a way for our state to assist a number of evacuees, said Gov. Gregoire. I have great confidence in Kurt and the leadership he will provide in this effort. Hardin, the Mitigation, Response and Recovery Unit Manager, has been with EMD since 1996. His substantial emergency management experience includes work on recovery efforts for the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake. Hardin will work with John Pennington, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region X director since 2001, who was appointed as Federal Coordinating Officer, to coordinate the states Katrina response. As of 3 p.m. today, the American Red Cross reported a preliminary count of 56 cases of individuals or families from the Gulf Coast area asking for assistance from their local chapters in Washington State. All of the states chapters are busy processing cases of evacuees asking for assistance. All evacuees who have come to Washington on their own to stay with friends and family should register with FEMA by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or by logging on to www.fema.gov in order to receive FEMA assistance. Washington state has also established a disaster assistance help line to assist evacuees in obtaining disaster benefits available from the federal government; the telephone number is 1-800-688-3469. Approximately 90 members of the Washington Army and Air National Guard are now on the ground in New Orleans assisting the Louisiana National Guard to coordinate air traffic over the three-state area devastated by the hurricane. The 66th Aviation Brigades Task Force Falcon was flown into Naval Air Station New Orleans, which is being used as a staging base. The guardsmen were flown to Louisiana on KC-135 tankers, a dual-use aircraft that can be configured to transport troops as well as serve as a tanker. People are encouraged to make cash donations to Washington Cares, a fund established by the governor in partnership with Washington Mutual Bank. Donations can be made at any Washington Mutual branch around the state, and will be given to the Red Cross. People who want to donate time, goods or services may call the states Operation Evergreen hotline at 1-800-941-2930. Operation Evergreen is an effort of state, local and federal officials along with community organizations to help people who have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina. As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, the donation line had received almost 400 calls from citizens offering to donate goods and services.

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Pierce County still registering medical professional volunteers
Posted By Sheri Badger on Sep 9th, 2005 at 8:01 AM

Tacoma, WA – September 07, 2005 – Pierce County is preparing to accept a significantly smaller number of evacuees from the area hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina, but it is still very important that we preregister professional medical volunteers. The Pierce County Department of Emergency Management is currently accepting applications for professional medical volunteers to assist victims. Volunteers will work within Pierce County. Volunteers with current medical licenses such as physicians, nurses, counselors, etc. will be in greatest demand. Or you may contact the Pierce County Department of Emergency Management directly at (253) 798-7470 for further information. At this point, it is unclear when or how many evacuees may be arriving, if at all. Applications will be processed and put on hold until we get the directive to activate the volunteers for this event or for a future medical emergency in our region. It is our hope that you will find a rewarding opportunity that matches your interests and skills, and we thank you for your willingness to assist in whatever manner possible.

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