Maxwell, FEMA prepare relief supplies for Tropical Storm Isaac
by Master Sgt. Michael Voss
Air University Public Affairs
8/28/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AFNS) -- As residents along the Gulf Coast of the United States prepare for Tropical Storm Isaac, Airmen and representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are busy setting up an emergency staging site on Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
Beginning Saturday, more than 120 semi-trucks filled with water, food, medical equipment, blankets, cots and generators big enough for hospitals began flowing into the base.
"The first site to set up was Naval Air Station Jacksonville, but we stood up the Maxwell site once the storm changed track," said Bond Luddeke, FEMA Region 4 Logistics Coordinator. "We are here to support state emergency operations and ensure necessary supplies are ready for the state to draw on once a request is received."
Between the FEMA response and the Army Corps of Engineers, there are more than 200 people on 12-hour shifts with plans to flex to 24-hour coverage later tonight as the storm continues its approach.
There are a lot of moving parts in preparing for the storm, but Luddeke insists success is due to the relationship with the base.
"We stage on base versus off base because the infracture is suited to handle the amount of trucks and supplies we receive from all over the country," said Luddeke. "The support we receive here at Maxwell is tremendous."
Preparation for a storm response is more than staging supplies; it is about partnership and collaboration at the local, state and federal levels. Once requested, FEMA handles getting supplies to a POD or Point of Distribution, and if needed, bases such as Maxwell often open their gates to evacuees.
"Not only are we working with interagency partners like FEMA, we are working with the Alabama Emergency Management Agency. We have about 120 trucks that have come from all over the United States to provide staging for evacuees along the Gulf Coast," said Col. Trent H. Edwards, 42nd Air Base Wing commander. "FEMA is ready to provide things like ice, food, beds, blankets and cots all staged out of Maxwell AFB, and we have positioned our lodging facilities to accept affected evacuees from the Gulf Coast."
If needed, Edwards said the base has plans to utilize all its resources including the base fitness center to house evacuees.
"The hope is nothing like this has to take place, but we plan for the worst scenario so we are ready to assist," said Edwards. "It is all part of being a team."
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