Helping communities when emergencies strike

An American Red Cross disaster relief trailer.
Rolling out disaster relief: The American Red Cross responds to emergencies, such as a tornado that struck the Nebraska communities of Wayne and Macy in the early evening of late October, 2013. Photo courtesy of the American Red Cross.

TransCanada donates $8,000 towards emergency trailer project in Nebraska/Southwest Iowa Region

A toothbrush, a blanket, a bed, a bandage — things most of us take for granted. But with the unpredictable nature of most emergencies, basic life necessities are often difficult to find when people need them the most.

As a community member, with many staff living and working in the Omaha area, TransCanada has seen first-hand when people are ripped from their homes due to emergencies, such as wildfires, tornadoes, flash floods and blizzards.

That is why TransCanada has responded by donating $8,000 to the American Red Cross, Nebraska/Southwest Iowa Region for a disaster relief trailer in Omaha, Neb., that will serve the North Central and Northeastern parts of the state.

“We believe it is our obligation to be active and involved — like any good neighbor would — to ensure community members are cared for during times of emergency,” said Rob Latimer, Land Manager for Keystone U.S. Projects North. “Collaborating with emergency response agencies, such as the Red Cross, and other local and state agencies in Nebraska helps ensure all residents have what they need and a safe place to go when a crisis strikes.”

The American Red Cross Nebraska/Southwest Iowa Region serves more than two million Nebraskans and eight counties in Southwest Iowa that are part of the Omaha metropolitan area. The region provides year-round vital services, from responding to home fires in local neighborhoods to teaching first aid and CPR in communities.

Last October, when tornadoes struck Nebraska’s Wayne/Macy communities at 8:30 p.m. a Red Cross team quickly organized and picked up a similar trailer, pre-loaded with cots, blankets, comfort kits, clean-up kits, first aid kits and items to run a shelter. The trailer was towed 114 miles to Macy and a shelter was up and running by midnight the same evening, said Rick Young, Union College Red Cross Club Facility Director.

A look inside an American Red Cross disaster relief trailer.

Ready for relief: The American Red Cross responds to emergencies with disaster trailers that are pre-loaded with cots, blankets, comfort kits, clean-up kits, first aid kits and items to run a shelter. Photo courtesy of the American Red Cross.

“Having pre-stocked equipment in portable trailers and staged in numerous locations around the State is critical to the mission of the American Red Cross,” said Young. “The more trailers that are loaded with cots, blankets and supplies and pre-staged around the State, the more efficient we are to meet the emergency needs of the numerous communities during disasters.”

That is why The American Red Cross is grateful to receive this grant from TransCanada, said Jill Orton, Region Disaster Officer.

“TransCanada’s support allows the Red Cross to prepare our communities throughout North Central and North East Nebraska for any type of emergency, by placing trailers stocked with disaster relief supplies in neighboring areas,” said Orton.

“Building relationships with agencies like the American Red Cross is just one of many meaningful ways that ensures effective coordination in any emergency that occurs in the communities where we operate or planning projects such as KXL,” said Latimer.

TransCanada has developed a comprehensive Emergency Management System (EMS) of its own to ensure a quick and appropriate response to any company emergency, including a pipeline incident. In the event of any emergency, TransCanada’s goal is to ensure an effective, coordinated response, preventing harm to people, property, company operations and the environment.

A severely damaged home in the communities of Wayne and Macy, Neb., following a tornado in October , 2013.

Tornado damage: When a tornado struck the Nebraska communities of Wayne and Macy in the early evening of late October, 2013, an American Red Cross team drove a disaster relief trailer 114 miles to Macy and set up a shelter by midnight. Photo courtesy of the American Red Cross.