Relief Team Prepared For Next Disaster

Thursday, February 12th 2009, 9:34 pm
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News on 6

LONE GROVE, OK -- Relief workers with the Washington-Osage Southern Baptist Disaster Relief team are in Lone Grove helping with tornado relief efforts.

The team will do chainsaw work and prepare meals for victims and rescuers, but volunteers are already looking ahead.

They are better prepared to handle the next natural disaster. Volunteers are installing and doing last-minute checks of equipment on a new tool to help them help others.

"If we fill the propane tanks and put food in the trailer, we'd be ready to roll," said Jim Sheetz, Southern Baptist volunteer.

After nine months of planning and work, a new mobile feeding trailer is almost ready for use after natural disasters, like Oklahoma's outbreak of tornados this week.

Mobile feeding trailers are already used by Baptist disaster teams nationwide.

"We can feed about 2,000 people a day out of this trailer," Sheetz said. "That would be two meals."

There are more than a dozen of these types of trailers across Oklahoma, enabling the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief teams to respond quickly the next time there is an emergency.

The chapter will rely on a volunteer pool of about 30 people to man the trailer. Volunteers can respond from almost anywhere in the U.S. within two days.

"If someone was in northeastern Oklahoma, you could be there in a matter of hours," Sheetz said.

The trailer is important to the group's efforts to help people in need. Volunteers say you never know when the next Lone Grove will happen.

"Not in Oklahoma," volunteer Steve Cabler said. "You never know when we're going to have another tornado, another ice storm. You just don't. It's something we have no control over, and we do need to be ready."

Other Southern Baptist Disaster Relief teams from Oklahoma are busy in other areas. In addition to feeding units, chainsaw teams are working in Edmond, Tahlequah, Westville and in Springdale, Ark.