First re­spon­ders ready if called

Dorchester Star - - Regional - By CON­NIE CON­NOLLY cconnolly@ches­ Fol­low me on Twitter @con­nie_s­tar­dem.

EAS­TON — Fol­low­ing a morn­ing con­fer­ence call with Mary­land Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency (MEMA) on Mon­day, Aug. 28, Mid-Shore emer­gency ser­vices di­rec­tors said they were ready to help in Texas if they got the call.

Hur­ri­cane Har­vey’s land­fall on the south­east coast of Texas has caused “cat­a­strophic flood­ing,” ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Weather Ser vice.

State emer­gency man­age­ment lead­ers learned “there are no un­met needs in Texas so far,” Brian LeCates said. He’s the di­vi­sion chief of Tal­bot County Emer­gency Ser vices.

Calls for help from other states to Mary­land fun­nel through the Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency (FEMA) to MEMA who then “pushes it out to the coun­ties,” said Jim Al­free, as­sis­tant chief of com­mu­ni­ca­tions for Queen Anne’s County Emer­gency Ser­vices.

“We’ll eval­u­ate the re­quest if it comes in and de­ter­mine if we have the re­sources and man­power,” Al­free said. “We’ll def­i­nitely do our best if we’re called.”

Al­free said that Queen Anne’s County EMS sent a group to New Jersey af­ter su­per­storm Sandy hit that state in Oc­to­ber 2012.

So far, MEMA has sent a group to Texas that in­cludes an in­ci­dent man­age­ment team and a swift wa­ter res­cue team, LeCates said.

Both LeCates and Al­free said they will par­tic­i­pate in daily MEMA con­fer­ence calls as the week pro­gresses.

Emer­gency re­sponse teams from Texas’s neigh­bor­ing states will be called to help first.

“But they don’t want to burn out their lo­cal res­cue teams,” Al­free said. “I don’t even think we’ve seen the worst of it yet.”

“If we get an ur­gent re­quest, it doesn’t take days; we can push out within hours, but there is travel time in­volved,” Al­free said.

Lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions are help­ing peo­ple af­fected by Hur­ri­cane Har­vey.

The Greater Ch­e­sa­peake Re­gion of the Red Cross cur­rently is send­ing 41 vol­un­teers, and more are sched­ul­ing to de­ploy to ar­eas that may be af­fected by Har­vey.

“The Red Cross and the com­mu­nity is thank­ful for the gen­eros­ity of the ded­i­cated vol­un­teers and donors that give of their time, tal­ent and sup­port to help those that have been dev­as­tated by this cat­a­strophic hur­ri­cane and the trop­i­cal storm that is fol­low­ing,” spokesman Ja­son Mar­shall said. He is ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Red Cross’s South­ern Mary­land chap­ter.

The Red Cross de­pends on fi­nan­cial do­na­tions to be able to pro­vide dis­as­ter re­lief im­me­di­ately. You can help peo­ple af­fected by Hur­ri­cane Har­vey by vis­it­ing red­, call­ing 1-800-RED CROSS or tex­ting the word HAR­VEY to 90999 to make a $10 do­na­tion.

Donors can des­ig­nate their do­na­tion to Hur­ri­cane Har­vey re­lief ef­forts by choos­ing that op­tion when do­nat­ing on red­ or on 1-800-RED CROSS.

When send­ing a check, write the spe­cific dis­as­ter name in the memo line. Also rec­om­mended is com­plet­ing and mail­ing the do­na­tion form on red­ with your check.

The Blood Bank of Del­marva (BBD) is ask­ing Mid-Shore res­i­dents to help it meet an “ur­gent re­quest for over 2,000 units of blood from our fel­low blood banks in Texas and across the Gulf coast to deal with tragedy from Hur­ri­cane Har­vey,” the or­ga­ni­za­tion stated in an Aug. 28 press re­lease.

“Hur­ri­cane Har­vey has im­pacted blood col­lec­tion in Texas but pa­tients still need blood and blood prod­ucts to sur­vive,” spokes­woman Karesa Fleary said.

BBD is seek­ing donors with O pos­i­tive, O neg­a­tive, A neg­a­tive and B neg­a­tive blood types to make a blood do­na­tion this week. Platelet donors are needed as well.

“The peo­ple of Texas will be count­ing on us over the next cou­ple of weeks to sup­port them dur­ing their time of crit­i­cal need so please help,” Flear y said.

For more in­for­ma­tion, donors can call 1-888-8-BLOOD-8 or visit do­ to book an ap­point­ment.

On Sun­day, Sept. 3, the Catholic Dio­cese of Wilm­ing­ton which en­com­passes all of the Catholic churches in the Mid-Shore area, will col­lect a spe­cial of­fer­ing for Catholic Char­i­ties USA and the Arch­dio­cese of Galve­ston-Houston’s dis­as­ter re­lief fund.

Click on the fol­low­ing links to do­nate to the of­fi­cial do­na­tion pages of the fol­low­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions pro­vid­ing Hur­ri­cane Har­vey dis­as­ter re­lief: Catholic Char­i­ties USA, Sa­mar­i­tan’s Purse, Save the Chil­dren, Heart to Heart In­ter­na­tional, South­ern Bap­tist Dis­as­ter Re­lief or United Methodist Com­mit­tee on Re­lief.

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