Have Questions? The Tornado Recovery Center is Here to Help
By Office of Communication
Posted on April 05, 2012, April 05, 2012

When a resident arrived to check on his home after a tornado had ripped through his neighborhood, he saw at least four trees lying horizontally across his front lawn. After surveying the damage inside (roof blown off, a wall partially down, his belongings scattered everywhere) he wanted to know this: what to do with all those trees?

The next day he had the answer, courtesy of a team of Arlington Public Works staffers who were manning a table in the Tornado Recovery Center located at the Arlington Fire Training Center in West Arlington.

"You can call this a one stop shop for city services," said Arlington Fire Battalion Chief Rodney Smith, who is serving as the center"s commander. "We"re trying to funnel all outside resources through one location. That way people who need help don"t have to visit multiple places to find answers.

"We are also getting a lot of people coming in to volunteer so we"re coordinating that effort as well."

The Tornado Recovery Center was ready to go as early as Wednesday afternoon, and that"s when calls started coming in from often frantic residents not knowing where to look for various services.

The center is set up in the multipurpose auditorium of the training center and features meeting-style seating sandwiched on both ends by tables occupied by City representatives from Parks and Recreation to Water Utilities to Community Development and Planning.

"This is new for the average resident - if they haven"t experienced this, how would they know what to do, who to call?" said Water Utilities Dispatcher Mary Payne.

For instance, residents figured they could toss garbage and other debris in the front of their house for garbage pickup, but had little knowledge of what to do with hazardous wastes. The Recovery Center began spreading the word that it is also a drop off point for hazardous wastes.

Lost something? The Recovery Center is taking care of that, too.

"We have a processing procedure for any items brought to us in which we place in a lost and found," Smith said. "We want people to know that if there is something they think someone might have turned in, they might actually be able to find it here."

"I can"t tell you how helpful this has been," said Andy Pupoff, a CERT volunteer who had spent most of the day Thursday directing people inside the center or elsewhere. Pupoff and fellow volunteers Justin Carter and Kathleen Emerson sat outside the center under a tent making sure people knew where to go.

"It"s a lot to take in," said Emerson.

Smith agreed, saying that a fire station was still being run out of the building, along with the training center for fire recruits.

To find out more, visit the Tornado Recovery website.

By Kenneth Perkins

Headlines, News, Tornado Recovery