Salvation Army responds to Oklahoma wildfire
The Arkansas-Oklahoma Division of The Salvation Army responded to a large wildfire in Logan County, Okla. Record temperatures, drought and strong winds have brought extreme fire danger to much of Oklahoma. The wildfire, which began May 4, has burned over 3,000 acres and is responsible for one fatality. It has destroyed at least 42 structures and damaged another dozen.
On May 1, the Stillwater (Okla.) Salvation Army was assigned a canteen (mobile feeding unit). Stillwater is located in Payne County, adjacent to Logan County. The Stillwater corps officers, along with an employee and Advisory Board member, recently attended Emergency Disaster Services training.
Captain Patrishia Knott, Stillwater corps officer, reports their team was contacted May 5 and asked to deploy the next morning.
“It was exciting to put the canteen and our training to use so soon,” Knott said. “The canteen is still so new to us; we were unpacking the coffee pot on the way! The responders were exhausted this morning. Iit was an honor to be able to offer a bottle of water, Gatorade, hot coffee, a hot breakfast or snack to those working so hard to put out the fires. And, it was fun writing The Salvation Army Stillwater on the brand new ice chests and equipment!”
The Stillwater canteen was asked to provide breakfast to those sheltered by American Red Cross as well as first responders.
The Central Oklahoma Area Command (COAC) was also deployed to serve lunch and dinner. COAC’s new Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) coordinator, Kenny Kelly, is gaining experience quickly. He was deployed to Arkansas last week to assist with tornado response and is now overseeing his unit’s response to the wildfire. Kelly and one other employee brought a full crew of volunteers.
The Salvation Army is working closely with Emergency Management to ensure the response is closely coordinated with multiple partners. The Army is also coordinating feeding efforts with the American Red Cross and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. The Army’s EDS teams will remain on site as long as requested.
Originally posted on The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) website; contributed by Cynthia Fuller.