TROY — A brand-new, state-of-the-art emergency response vehicle (ERV) has been stationed at the Northern Miami Valley Ohio Chapter of the American Red Cross.
The vehicle was unveiled during a quarterly volunteer meeting at the Red Cross NVMO Chapter, Monday, Sept. 10, which included a grill-out and ice cream service out of the ERV itself.
The fully-equipped Mercedes Sprinter is part of the National American Red Cross fleet and will serve the Northern Miami Valley, including Miami, Champaign, Clark, Darke, Logan and Shelby counties, in provision of food services and bulk distribution of disaster relief supplies during emergencies. It will also be kept in a state of readiness for national deployment when needed.
In fact, it departed Tuesday to assist with relief efforts that are anticipated to be needed in South Carolina in the wake of Hurricane Florence.
According to Red Cross Executive Director Lynne Gump, the ERV came as part of an ongoing effort to update the fleet across the country.
“We call these our ‘next generation’ ERVs, because we’re trying to retire out our old fleet,” Gump said. “When vehicles are here longer than your volunteers, and you send them down south six times a year on a good year, they get a lot of miles on them by a lot of different drivers on a lot of roads that shouldn’t be driven post-hurricane.
“We recognized the need, and we were lucky enough to be chosen. We’ve had some really generous donors.”
The ERV was donated — along with two others to the Cincinnati and Portsmouth areas — by the Harold C. Schott Foundation of Cincinnati. The ERVs, including all provided gear, totaled approximately $100,000 each.
The ERV is retrofitted with full cargo storage for food, water, clothing and disaster relief supplies and features a serving window to facilitate catering services.
“This vehicle allows us to provide even better service for the residents of the Northern Miami Valley affected by disaster,” Gump said. “With full lighting inside and out, heating, air conditioning and comfortable seating, we can assist families out in the field safely and efficiently.
“Compared to our previous vehicle, it’s easier to get in and out of. It’s easier and more cost-effective to drive. It’s much easier to get into a neighborhood, so this vehicle will respond to more fires. This vehicle can hold an entire family, so that when we begin case work with them, they’re not sitting in the yard. They’re in here where they feel safe and can breathe and relax. We can distribute water out of here, we can serve meals out of here, and it’s a much more effective vehicle to move around from neighborhood to neighborhood.”
The NVMO chapter currently boasts nine volunteers qualified to drive the vehicle, including several who work on the national deployment team, but Gump insisted that more volunteers are welcome.
“We always need volunteers for this and all the other work that we do,” Gump said.
For more information, visit www.redcross.org, or find Northern Miami Valley American Red Cross on Facebook.