Minuteman Disaster Response based in McKinney, Texas, established an Ops Center last weekend to monitor and track the storms as they approached the Gulf Coast. As the storms progressed the MDR Rapid Response Team was deployed to do recon and determine a strategic location to establish their Base Camp. Due to the extreme damage in the Lake Charles region it was decided to focus the clean-up and relief efforts in that area.
The Minuteman Disaster Response Base Camp consisting of a self-sufficient Incident Command Post, Shower Restroom Unit, Mobile Sleeping Unit, and Relief Supply Trailer is being establish in Moss Bluff. With the wide spread power outages and the unknow timeframe to get water restored, this Base Camp will be vital to the relief efforts in the area.
One of the first MDR team members to arrive reported, “When we got to Lake Charles, we knew we were in the right place. Destruction was everywhere. Almost every electric line and tree was down or damaged. Essentially every structure had damage. People were dazed and had no idea what was coming next. We found out that the small community of Moss Bluff a few miles north had been hit hard and didn’t have many resources. It took almost an hour to travel those 10 miles because of downed trees, damage, and electric wires but now we are ready to establish our Base Camp so we can make a difference in the lives of Moss Bluff residents.”
The initial team to arrive in the area has already been out with their equipment clearing roads for people to gain access to their homes. The trained and experienced MDR volunteer team plans to be in the area for at least two weeks. The initial focus of the work is expected to be muck-outs of homes that are damaged by flooding. The experienced team is fully trained and equipped to remove damaged household goods, flooring, and sheet rock after a home has been flooded.
In addition to the extensive training the volunteers have received regarding safety during clean-up projects, they are also being instructed to follow social distancing standards and masks and hand sanitizers are being provided. Even the sleeping unit is being limited to 50 percent capacity to allow for Social Distancing Standards.
Matt Payne, Executive Director of Minuteman Disaster Response, says “In times of disaster like this we want to be able to hug the people that are hurting or hold their hand and pray with them. The COVID-19 pandemic may have us practicing social distancing but we continue to do what we can to show love and hope to those we help.”