When families hit by fires, floods or tornadoes need toothbrushes and soap or a tarp to cover a damaged roof, the American Red Cross’ newest and largest Field Disaster Supply Center is stocked and ready to help.
Thousands of boxes filled with cots, blankets, cooking supplies and other emergency items are stacked in tidy rows in the 174,000-square-foot national center, which opened Wednesday in southeast Arlington. The climate-controlled warehouse off New York Avenue south of Interstate 20, is one of five American Red Cross supply centers located across United States.
“They are placed to enable us to respond very quickly and not have to move resources from one coast to another. This is strategically placed in the center of America after a study was done to determine the best location,” said T.D. Smyers, chief executive of the American Red Cross North Texas Region. “This facility can help hundreds of thousands of folks who are impacted by disaster.”
Arlington’s proximity to major highways and airports made it an ideal location for the supply center, which will serve not only North Texas but places such as the western Gulf Coast region, Oklahoma and other states in Tornado Alley, and places such as Colorado that are hard hit by wildfires, said Charles Yopp, senior director of supply chain management for the Red Cross.
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“We have a lot of resources in here that are used to alleviate human suffering,” Yopp said. “We look at this location not only to support local areas in Texas but the larger United States if need be.”
After seeing homes and businesses severely damaged by tornadoes three times in the past 13 years, Mayor Robert Cluck said Arlington is fortunate to have the American Red Cross ready to provide urgent assistance to families in need.
“I love seeing the Red Cross trucks. I know if they are here, we are OK. They have been at every major disaster to hit our city,” Cluck said. “What they do for our city and the people of our city is God’s work.”
In addition to being a site for blood drives, and first aid and CPR classes, Red Cross officials said, the Arlington center will serve as home base for a new disaster action team that will respond to emergencies in Arlington, Mansfield, Grand Prairie and Kennedale.
The nonprofit’s other supply centers are in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Missouri and Nevada.