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Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief assessing response with South Carolina counterparts

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North Charleston received more than 15 inches of rainfall from Hurricane Joaquin. Photo by Ryan Johnson/Flickr North Charleston received more than 15 inches of rainfall from Hurricane Joaquin. Photo by Ryan Johnson/Flickr

GBC Disaster Relief leaders met today with others in pulling together an appropriate response to the historic floods in South Carolina, taking the first steps for Georgia Baptists to join a cleanup effort that will require a long-term presence.

Right now, Georgia Baptists can be most helpful by collecting "Buckets of Care," said GBC Disaster Relief director Stuart Lang. Each 5-gallon bucket can be filled with safety equipment, tools, and first aid materials, closed with a lid, and transported to be used on-site.

Safety equipment

6 pair – surgical gloves (hypoallergenic)

2 pair – leather gloves

2 pair – safety goggles

4 – dust masks

Tools

1 – utility knife with extra blades

1 – chalk line with chalk

½ - gallon bleach

6 – Teri cloth rags

1 – flashlight and 6 batteries

1 – 6' or 12’ measuring tape

1 – twist nozzle for a garden hose

First Aid

1 – bottle Anti-Bacterial hand wash

1 – bottle Hydrogen peroxide

1 – bottle Alcohol

1 – antibiotic cream

1 – box Band aides

Warren Baptist Church in Augusta will serve as a collection site for the buckets.

Donations for cleanup efforts can be made through the Disaster Relief website. Click on the "Donations" tab and select either "GBC Disaster Relief" or "South Carolina Disaster Response."

Preparing to help in cleanup following what South Carolina's governor called "a 1,000-year flood" requires a good bit of talk before action can commence. The latter minus the former – as good-intentioned as it could be – can bring more trouble when volunteers don't consider the dangers in cleaning out a flooded home.

"We're requesting that people not respond too quickly and self-deploy," Lang stressed. "This is going to be a long-term response and there will be ample opportunity. Right now South Carolina isn't ready for us. Roads and bridges are still impassable and mud-out response isn't possible until waters recede. The best we can do is pray and prepare to go when the opportunity opens up."

A shortage in trained volunteers is something Disaster Relief leaders are having to consider. In 2010, the number of trained volunteers more than doubled to 1,785 following the earthquakes in Haiti. That figure fell by more than 1,000 – to 715 – the next year before the tornado outbreak in April 2011 spurred more to Disaster Relief instruction in 2012, sending that number to 863.

In 2013 and 2014, however, the number signing up fell to 741 and 454. This year, 368 took part in DR training held in Georgia.

Augusta, Disaster Relief, flood, South Carolina, volunteers

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