Emergency supplies head from Reno to Houston

RENO, Nev (KOLO) Even though Reno is far removed from Houston, you may be surprised how close we are when it comes to sheltering those who have lost their homes. The second largest disaster field supply center for the American Red Cross in the country is located right on USA Parkway.

“Hello,” says a volunteer steering his motor boat in a flooded neighborhood in Houston. This may be the last chance for people to escape their flooded homes. "Everybody all right?” he yells.

One woman steps out of her front door and says they have a call into 911.

“911 can’t help you,” he says. "I am here to help you,” he tells the woman.

The woman shakes her head and gets ready for a boat ride.

Once safely inside the boat, many of these people will eventually end up in shelters set up by the Red Cross.

“We did a helicopter we did a boat. It was like ridiculous. It was my first time seeing that. I was nervous, I was panicked. And the only thing I could do is just pray and keep my head up. Do whatever I had to do,” one evacuee said of her journey.

In Dallas, a "Mega-Center" was set to open Tuesday morning, designed to help 5,000 people under one roof.

There are five American Red Cross Disaster Field Supply Centers across the country. They are where cots, blankets, cleaning supplies, personal toiletries and the rest are stored.

Materials are being pulled for Hurricane Harvey from Dallas, Atlanta and St. Louis facilities. But supplies are not infinite.

“Now we are in an activation state which is red, which means everybody is on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” says Randy Beith, manager of the Reno-based American Red Cross Disaster Field Supply Center.

Beith says they already have shelter kits on the floor ready to go.
Those are in the most demand, he says, as they are designed to set up a shelter for 816 people. Cots, blankets, personal toiletries, and other items are contained in these kits.

When Beith gets the word, which he anticipates will be in the next five days, trucks will arrive at USA Parkway to take the items to Texas. Later he says they may be asked to send cleanup kits for residents who return to their homes. That call could come in the middle of the night, and when it does Beith says, they'll be ready.