Hurricane Dorian: Associations Get Into Response Mode

With both immediate and long-term response in mind, association-backed initiatives are picking up their efforts to assist as Hurricane Dorian makes its way up the East Coast.

While Hurricane Dorian spared Florida a direct hit, the Bahamas weren’t quite so lucky, and the storm, while weaker than it was nearly a week ago, still packs quite the punch.

The storm is expected to cause problems through the end of the week, particularly in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, and affected regions are preparing for cleanup and recovery. And as storm efforts move from preparation to response, associations are ready to help. Among the ways they’re stepping up:

Helping diabetics in need. The Diabetes Disaster Response Coalition, formed in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in 2017, takes steps to ensure that diabetics have access to a steady supply of insulin. As was reported in a recent issue of Associations Now, DDRC —which includes the Endocrine Society, Insulin for Life USA, the American Diabetes Association, JDRF, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, and many others—builds out a network of resources for distributing insulin treatments for those in need. Last week, the coalition noted that it had built patient preparedness plans and was ready to make more resources available. “We know securing medication can be a challenge,” said Carol Atkinson, cochair of DDRC and  director of Insulin for Life USA, in a news release [PDF]. “Our goal, as a coalition, is to ensure that people with diabetes have swift and adequate access to healthcare, information, and supplies.”

Flying in supplies. The National Business Aviation Association operates a database of small planes that can jump in and help after hurricanes, and in the wake of Dorian, the Humanitarian Emergency Response Operator (HERO) database is ready to go, offering local regions in need of supplies an easy way to get them after a storm. On its website, NBAA notes that business aircraft, because of their small size and airborne status, are well-suited for emergency missions of this nature. “Business aircraft can operate on short notice into outlying airports with small runways, and sometimes unpaved airstrips, or even onto roads—they are uniquely suited to providing a first response to natural disasters and other emergencies,” the association says. NBAA works with humanitarian groups in helping to organize its missions.

Flying out pets. Another group using the power of flight to assist in disaster relief and recovery is the ASPCA, which has been working with local authorities to keep animals safe. One way it’s doing that is by flying out pets in affected regions—something the group just did in the Hilton Head area of South Carolina, taking nearly 200 housepets from the region’s shelters to new destination shelters outside of the storm’s path. ASPCA worked with a nonprofit, Wings of Rescue, on the endeavor.

Offering long-term services for rebuilding. Thinking beyond the immediate aftermath of a major storm like a hurricane, communities often have to take significant steps to rebuild their local economies. And the International Economic Development Council is ready to assist with those efforts. With help from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and Southwest Airlines, IEDC helps make available Restore Your Economy, a website that provides resiliency tools to public and private stakeholders, along with access to volunteer-based technical assistance from the council. “Experienced economic developers, individually and in teams, can spend up to a week volunteering with your community to assist with economic recovery and resiliency projects,” the Restore Your Economy site states. In an email, IEDC President and CEO Jeffrey A. Finkle noted that the program started in 2005, with the goal of helping Gulf Coast communities devastated by two major storms that year: Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita.

Is your association working on a Hurricane Dorian relief effort of its own? Share information about it in the comments.

A view of Hurricane Dorian from the International Space Station. (NASA Johnson Space Center/Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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