Midstate groups prepare to assist in Florence response

Written by Rachel McDevitt | Sep 12, 2018 6:07 PM

Larry Pierson, from the Isle of Palms, S.C., purchases bottled water from the Harris Teeter grocery store on the Isle of Palms in preparation for Hurricane Florence at the Isle of Palms S.C., Monday, Sept. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

(Harrisburg) -- Teams in the midstate are ready to help people in the path of Hurricane Florence.

Five Harrisburg city firefighters have already deployed to South Carolina to assist with emergency response.

Lancaster County-based Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) is assembling equipment and supplies in anticipation of a response to the Carolinas.

Executive Director Kevin King said his volunteers won't be first on scene for search and rescue, but next with clean up assistance.

"[We] make a house safe, sound, and secure," he said. "So, it might be tarping the roof, if we can salvage that. It might mean cutting trees off homes; preventing secondary damage and so on."

He said they rely on teams of volunteers, even though the organization can't guarantee where the volunteers will sleep each night.

"It could be on a church bench, it could be on a church basement floor," King said. "But they're ready to do that. This is their contribution to bring a bit of hope in the midst of this destruction."

King said he's been on nightly conference calls with regional offices to coordinate their response.

MDS still has teams assisting recovery from last year's major hurricanes: Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

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