Red Cross chapter gets disaster relief trailer
by Shane Dunaway
The Talladega/St. Clair County Chapter of the American Red Cross recently unveiled its new 5 foot by 10 foot disaster relief trailer.

The trailer houses cots, blankets and other emergency equipment needed to establish a relief shelter in either county when a disaster strikes.

“This trailer can be accessed for any event the Red Cross needs to support in our local area,” community chapter executive Peggy Mann said.

According to Mann, agreements are already in place to use the Spring Street Recreation Center in Talladega and First Baptist Church in Sylacauga as potential relief shelters, as well as several locations in St. Clair County.

Gerald Mortz, volunteer coordinator for the chapter, said he is working to secure agreements with other locations in the counties for potential relief shelters.

The agency’s disaster services department provided the new trailer to the local chapter. The chapter plans to house the trailer at the Talladega Emergency Management Agency.

“Our disaster services department evaluates where it is we need to stage our equipment to best serve the population that the Red Cross covers,” Mann said. “They determined there was a need to have one in our location to service our counties and surrounding counties if need be.”

Mann didn’t know off hand how much the trailer itself cost, but she stressed the value of having the trailer readily available for use during tornadoes, hurricanes, fires and straight-line wind disasters.

“It’s not just about what we are able to put inside of it — the equipment that we need to accomplish our mission,” Mann said. “Having a trailer like this gives us the opportunity to provide fast service to our clients and you can’t put a price on that.

“When there’s a disaster, being able to set up a shelter within a couple hours is very time-sensitive and important,” Mann said. “This is just a piece of the puzzle for the Red Cross to be prepared and ready whenever we are needed.”

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© 2013