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For week ended February 20, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Summarized by 'Stephen Harvard Sr.'

Panama City Florida Stake & Red Cross Assist Tornado Victims
(Central Panhandle Chapter Tornado Event 2/13)
Jim Buckley 14Feb00 D1

Bay and Washington Counties experienced a series of tornadoes the evening of February 13, 2000. The Central Panhandle Chapter responded to a request for emergency services within one hour. The On-duty DAT team responded first to the on-scene command post in Bay County on Highway 77 north of Southport. Within two hours a fully loaded and staffed ERV arrived on scene at the Gulf Coast Electric COOP. Over 18 Red Cross volunteers with Mass Care, Family Service, Damage Assessment, Disaster Mental Health, and Logistic skills reported to the Chapter or to the command post.

This disaster was the first operational test of our Community Disaster Action Partnership with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Church members rapidly responded to the call for help and arrived fully trained and motivated to serve their community. Volunteers remained with the ERV all night, then returned to conduct preliminary damage assessment Monday morning.

Ongoing communication with the Washington County EOC indicated the possibility of severe damage in that county. By early Monday afternoon, a damage assessment team arrived in Southeast Washington County to survey the damage.

Fortunately, reports of tornado activity in Jackson County did not result in any reports of damage in that county. Information was exchanged among Jackson County Emergency Management, our ARC Liaison in Jackson County, branch volunteers, and the Central Panhandle Headquarters.

Mutual Aid with Capital Area Chapter for possible deployment of a mobile kitchen and damage assessment staff was exercised. Although the need for the mobile kitchen was not realized, the mechanism to receive mutual aid proved very successful. This was particularly noteworthy in light of Capital Area's own vulnerability to the same tornadic weather system and their ultimate deployment of volunteers and equipment to neighboring chapters in Georgia.

Bay County businesses contributing to the local disaster relief with in-kind or reduced cost items included Albertson Grocery, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Sunny 98.5 Radio, and perennial partner, Sam's Club.

Favorable news stories on the ARC response and volunteerism were noted on both local television stations and several radio stations. ABC affiliate, Channel 13, conducted live interviews with ARC disaster volunteers both Sunday night and during their early morning News Show on Monday morning.

The local disaster relief operation continues this afternoon with Mass Care, Family Service, Disaster Mental Health and Damage Assessment operations in Bay and Washington counties.

James Buckley
Director of Emergency Services
Central Panhandle Chapter

This is a copy of the SITREP.
The member are from the Panama City Florida Stake, Lynn Haven Ward. We have 30 members trained as Shelter Managers, Damage Assessment Teams, ERV Operators and Mass Care Workers.

Stephen Harvard Sr
Regional ERRS Specialist


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