EMA to organize volunteer response team

Published 1:27 am Saturday, September 16, 2017

Covington County EMA Director Susan Harris is calling on all those who wished there was a shelter open for evacuees from Hurricane Irma last weekend to join her in a planning meeting.

“Covington County is in desperate need of a Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster (VOAD),” she said. “We have great people in our county that want to help. However, those efforts need to be organized and arranged before an event. This organization will be open for the entire county.”

At present, there is no designated shelter for evacuees, or for locals in the event a storm moved this way.

“This has always been an issue,” Harris said.  “This will be a volunteer effort, but we’ll coordinate it through our office so there won’t be duplication.”

A meeting has been set for 5:30 p.m. on Thurs., Oct. 19, in the Covington County Commission Chambers, 270 Hillcrest Drive, Andalusia.

“If you have commented that you wish you could help or that shelters should be open in times of need, please attend this meeting,” Harris said. “We will talk about the different areas in a disaster that need to be addressed and how it can be accomplished.”

Harris was complimentary of those who stepped up to help the evacuees  who turned up in Andalusia last weekend.

“There were many helpful hands all over our great county,” she said. “Thank you to the Covington County Commission for your support during this time. Andy Wiggins and the city of Andalusia, thank you for all your assistance. Andy was right along there with EMA at Wal-Mart for days helping travelers.

“Thanks to Cory Spurlin and the City of Opp for helping those at Frank Jackson and making sure all were safe,” she said. “Also, thanks to Mayor Terry Holley and the City of Florala for staying on top of the issues that you had in that area.”

Many others offered to help, she said.