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Red Cross, St. Lawrence County Forming First COAD

10-17-14 - Northern New York - Red Cross, St. Lawrence County Forming First COAD
The more organizations know of each other’s capacity to respond, the better.

The American Red Cross of Northern New York and the St. Lawrence County Office of Emergency Services are hosting an organizational meeting from 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 4, at the Human Services Complex Building, 80 State Highway 310, Canton, for representatives from community service agencies that are interested in joining the newly formed Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) for St. Lawrence County.

The planning for the organizational meeting of the COAD – the first of its kind in St. Lawrence County – is being guided by representatives from the Red Cross, county Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), county Public Health Department, Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, and county Office of Emergency Services.

“The frequency of disasters, both natural and man-made, is on the rise. With that, emergency response capabilities are often stressed very early on in the event,” said Mike Lecuyer, Director, St. Lawrence County Office of Emergency Services. “This is why community-based organizations will play an integral role in disaster mitigation and recovery efforts. Early planning and development of how these community-based organizations can be helpful is vital.”

The primary function of the COAD is to bring together community service agencies that prepare for, mitigate, respond to and recover from disasters. It provides a cohesive network through which voluntary and service agencies can identify resources and allocate them effectively and efficiently during all phases of a disaster. The intent of the meeting is to share the capacity of each attending organization to respond to and recover from a local disaster

“Having community agencies confer before disasters occur has proven to be very successful in ensuring a coordinated, efficient and effective response,” said Tim Schwob, Community Partner Services Lead for the American Red Cross Northern New York Chapter. “The more organizations know of each other’s capacity to respond, the better.”

In the past, community and faith-based organizations responded individually in times of disaster. But after Hurricane Camille struck the United States in 1969, studies found that the individual response was often fragmented, incomplete and disorganized with unnecessary duplication of effort.

Those findings led to the formation of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD), which is the parent organization of all VOADs and COADs. The difference between a COAD and VOAD is that a VOAD is organized on a statewide basis, while a COAD is a more local organization of community service agencies.

The purpose of the Nov. 4 meeting is to share the capacity of each attending organization to respond to and recover from a local disaster.

The St. Lawrence County COAD is limited to organizations from the county; the Red Cross of Northern New York plans to discuss the COAD concept with surrounding counties in the near future.

For more information about the St. Lawrence County COAD or to register for the event on Nov. 4, contact Tim Schwob at 315-265-7210 or tim.schwob@redcross.org.

Click here to learn more about the history of COADs.