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News | Sept. 8, 2017

Former military equipment aids hurricane relief efforts

By Jeff Landenberger and Ken MacNevin DLA Disposition Services

First responders along the Gulf and Atlantic coastlines know there’ll always be a next storm.

So when Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, equipment from DLA Disposition Services was already in the hands of first responders to help save lives. Now with Hurricane Irma’s anticipated landfall, fire trucks previously provided to the U.S. Forest Service’s Firefighter Property program were in use because of flooding caused by isolated but torrential rains around Fort Myers, Florida.

The Law Enforcement Support Office at DLA Disposition Services in Battle Creek, Michigan, has reports on the positive impact that equipment made during rescue and recovery efforts during and after Harvey struck. These reports include:

-Aug. 27, Texas Rangers reported that a mine-resistant ambush protected, or “MRAP,” vehicle played a part in the rescue of 183 people during the initial flood stage.

-Aug. 28, Two MRAP vehicles operated by Texas Rangers were directly responsible for the rescue of an additional 436 people in neighborhoods near Humble, Texas. Rangers said that during the rescue operations they also foiled numerous looting attempts.

- Operations continued throughout the night of 28 Aug. with a third deployed MRAP vehicle escorting officers from the Houston Police Department who were answering calls to rescue stranded citizens.

-Aug. 29, approximately 79 Rangers and SWAT personnel continued rescue efforts operating three MRAPs and several boats throughout Harris, Montgomery, and Polk counties.

Police officers from the University of Texas System advised the state coordinator they were using their MRAP primarily for picking up doctors critical to keeping the school’s Houston Medical Center open. Senior Inspector Bobby Harper reported officers also delivered insulin and other life-saving medical supplies to those in need like the individual whose home was surrounded by flood waters and could not be reached by first responders.

As Harvey left Texas and the recovery began, state officials said DLA Disposition Services was still supplying equipment to them. According to Cody Raley, operations supervisor at the DLA Disposition Services site at Red River, his team has provided a number of trucks useful for rescue. 

Texas officials told the Law Enforcement Support Office staff that once they were able to compile all the reports the data would show how DLA-provided boats and vehicles played a role in the reuse of approximately 2,000 people.

A number of DLA Disposition Services field sites have been part of the team supporting the Hurricane Harvey recovery. In one action tracked by the Mid-America region’s Disposal Support staff, fast work with the Law Enforcement Support Office and Foreign Military Sales staff obtained the fast release of three trucks to Houston police. One went in to service immediately and was seen during a live CNN news report.

So far, more than 25,000 individual items of military property have been provided by the Defense Logistics Agency for Hurricane Harvey relief in Texas. The items came from 16 different DLA Disposition Services sites located in nine states and went to the state’s surplus property office or the Texas state coordinator for the Law Enforcement Support program. Statistics through Sept. 6 show that the bulk of the property was connected with sheltering people such as cots, blankets and sleeping bags. The original acquisition value of all the items was $6.5 million.