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October 30, 2012

Valley emergency responders ready for Sandy aftermath

TERRE HAUTE — Teams of Wabash Valley emergency responders are in the eastern United States to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

The Vigo County Emergency Management Agency sent three responders: Keith Holbert, deputy director of operations with the EMA, Tom High of the Honey Creek Fire Department and J.C. Gummere of the Riley Fire Department.

The three are part of a response from Indiana to a multi-state appeal for assistance through emergency management authorities, said J.D. Kesler, deputy director of the Vigo County Emergency Management Agency.

Holbert, High and Gummere were recently trained for just this sort of large-scale emergency response at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in southern Indiana, Kesler said.

As of Monday evening, the three were expected to be at an emergency response staging area in Albany, N.Y., Kesler said.

“They’ll be extremely busy,” Kesler said. They will be managing the staging area for the responders coming into upstate New York, he said. However, those orders could change, he said.

“Normally, in things like this, when you get there, things have already changed,” he said.

Meanwhile, teams of volunteers from the Wabash Valley chapter of the American Red Cross are also awaiting orders.

In all, eight Red Cross volunteers left the area over the weekend for two staging areas: White Plains, N.Y. and Harrisburg, Pa., said Carol Stevens, executive director of the Wabash Valley Red Cross.

The local Red Cross also sent two Emergency Response Vehicles to the area, Stevens said. Those vehicles are equipped to transport supplies from one area to another or to serve as feeding stations for people in need of emergency help, she said.

Hurricane Sandy “is just a different kind of storm than I’ve seen in my time at the Red Cross,” Stevens said. Sandy is threatening some of the most densely populated areas of the country, she noted. The scope of the storm’s expected impact is also of concern, Stevens said. Every state east of the Mississippi is expected to bear some fallout from Sandy, she said.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com.

 

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