Samantha Hayes ReportingHit by four hurricanes in a row, Florida residents are still cleaning up, and teenagers from American Fork are helping out.
In one week they've assembled more than 70,000 hygiene kits. Volunteers and relief packages have been organized in part by several specially trained Utahns. They just returned from Florida.
They are part of the Emergency Management Assistant Compact a mutual aid agreement from state to state. When a disaster happens, they are part of the first relief team to respond and this time it was for Hurricane number three, Ivan.
Nadine Taylor, Utah Emergency Services: “We were prepared to go there to assist with Ivan and we were there when Hurricane Jeanne came through. Everyone in the emergency operation center worked seven days a week, minimum of 12 hours a day.”
It’s a massive coordination effort with the Red Cross and National Guard to gather supplies and get them to people immediately. Workers say the relief infrastructure they helped develop will need to be in place much longer.
Nadine Taylor: “I can’t even imagine. It will take years to recover from it.”
Randy Cooper, Utah Emergency Services: “The hardest thing is the flooding. Homes destroyed, can’t get to homes. And with the flooding it’s going to be a while before they get to them.”
Mark DiFrancesco, Utah Emergency Services: “You get through the storm on adrenaline and then it’s stick-to-itive-ness to get rebuilt and get life back together.”
The state workers who just returned are relieved by colleagues on their way to Florida to perform the same duties.