Dallas Ill-Prepared for Major Disaster: Report

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    An emergency preparedness task force found that Dallas is not equipped to handle a major disaster.

    The city only has 26 percent of the supplies and volunteers it would need according to a report released by the Mass Care Task Force.

    The report showed that Dallas can't currently provide adequate food, shelter or volunteers.

    "We do not normally have in inventory the food necessary for this type of response," said Jan Pruitt, the North Texas Food Bank's president and chief executive officer.

    The food bank would be able to provide the 5,000 cafeteria-style meals required during a disaster but does not have money for the 20,000 pre-prepared meals it would also need.

    The group, a collaboration of local nonprofit relief agencies, is raising money for the equipment needed to care for nearly 37,500 people in the event of a major disaster. So far, the task force has raised $2.2 million of the $26 million it would need to handle a situation like Hurricane Katrina.

    The report also stated that volunteers would be needed for about 40 shelters, there are currently enough trained volunteers to staff 10. Ten shelters would be enough for only 8,000 people.

    Not only is there a need for trained volunteers, but there is also a need to hire staff that can coordinate efforts before a disaster strikes.

    "Volunteers within a disaster become a disaster of their own if they're not properly supervised and managed," said Julie Thomas, chief executive of the Volunteer Center of North Texas.

    The task force formed in 2006 to improve the area's ability to respond after local charities ran short of supplies during the influx of evacuees from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

     


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