The Salvation Army is using two ATVs and ten generators donated by the Polaris Corporation in support of Hurricane Ida response efforts in Louisiana. This equipment has already significantly enhanced the response effort and the effectiveness of the Incident Command Post.
Most of the area around the Incident Command Post, located in Gonzales, LA, is without power after Hurricane Ida moved through the area on Sunday, damaging much of the power grid. The Salvation Army Incident Command Team consists of more than 30 staff members and volunteers in addition to 11 mobile kitchens, a shower unit, bunk trailers, a command post, and more. Each of these units requires power to function.
“Setting up and getting any incident command post operational during a disaster is a logistical challenge at the best of times, never mind working without power,” said Alvin Migues, Emergency Disaster Services Director for The Salvation Army in Texas. “We are using the donated Polaris generators to power just about everything on site from our command post, shower unit, bunkhouses, radios, computers, and kitchen. Even the simplest of tasks would be significantly more difficult without power this week, and so we are very thankful for the gift of electricity and the generators from Polaris.”
Any response effort after a hurricane or tornado requires access to roads and neighborhoods that have experienced physical damage. The Texas IMT is currently deploying 18 mobile feeding units each day to impacted cities throughout southern Louisiana, delivering hot food and cold water to affected residents. This regularly means encountering down power lines and trees, storm debris blocking access, and damaged vehicles.
“Our full-size mobile kitchens and even our Rapid Response Units can sometimes find it impossible to get into affected neighborhoods,” said Migues. “This is where the Polaris ATVs are beneficial. We can deliver food and water to individuals and families that otherwise would be cut off until roads are cleared, which can sometimes take several days.”
On Wednesday afternoon, the Polaris ATVs deployed for the first time. They delivered hot meals to homes without power in a neighborhood close to the Incident Command Post where power lines and trees obstructed the roads. Disaster volunteers delivered meals and water to several families who said that this assistance from The Salvation Army was the first help they had received since the storm passed.
“Corporate and community partnerships are key to any successful disaster response effort,” said Migues. “The Salvation Army is grateful for generous partners, like Polaris, who come alongside us with very practical support that makes a difference in the lives of those we serve.”