JACKSON — The Salvation Army reports it has taken several steps this year to strengthen and enhance its emergency readiness for the current hurricane season. This includes the hosting of training sessions and disaster response conferences, acquisition of new equipment, the integration of a GPS tracking system on every working mobile feeding unit (canteen) in the Southern Territory and pre-positioning of non-perishable food and supplies.
“Salvation Army emergency disaster relief has to be a team effort,” said Jeff Jellets, Southern Territorial EDS coordinator. “We are ready, trained and equipped to do the most good for any community hit by devastation. This is not just for hurricanes, as our units have already been extremely active this year with ice storms, brush fires, tornadoes and manmade disasters across the southeastern United States.”
As another preparation, almost every canteen has now been fitted with an upgraded GPS tracking device allowing command units to see where the equipment is and the reliable movement of reinforcements to existing relief coverage, as well as the breakout of new disaster needs. In addition, stockpiles of food, water and cleaning supply kits have been strategically placed throughout the southern and eastern United States to ensure that supplies are ready immediately a disaster hits.
Other improvements include refurbishing a 48-foot mobile field kitchen that was only recently released from the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where it had been serving since Hurricane Katrina. The field kitchen is capable of producing up to 20,000 meals a day and will be stationed at a new Salvation Army disaster warehouse in Jackson. The vehicle is one of five field kitchens stationed in states stretching from Texas to Florida.