AmeriCares Partners with BCFS Health and Human Services to Pre-Position Relief Supplies for Texans with Disabilities

AmeriCares and BCFS Health and Human Services’ Emergency Management Division (BCFS EMD) have pre-positioned equipment and relief supplies for Texans with disabilities displaced by disasters. The equipment can be readily deployed to support resource requests for up to five Texas Disaster District regions. The pre-positioned supplies include nearly $50,000 worth of equipment including wheelchairs, canes, cots, shower chairs and other safety equipment BCFS EMD can rapidly deploy at the request of local and state agencies. The supplies will be stored in San Antonio and distributed to regions across the state after hurricanes, floods, wildfires and other emergencies.

AmeriCares, the global health and disaster relief organization, selected Texas for the preparedness program because it is one of the most disaster-prone states. BCFS EMD provides critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments, as well as private businesses and institutions, before, during and after disasters. In Texas, BCFS EMD is a top partner for operating and supplying shelters for residents displaced by storms and other emergencies.

“AmeriCares is dedicated to meeting the needs of the most vulnerable disaster survivors,” said AmeriCares Vice President of Emergency Response Garrett Ingoglia. “By pre-positioning equipment and supplies with our partner BCFS, we are ensuring emergency shelters across Texas will have the medical equipment and supplies elderly and disabled survivors most frequently need.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has designated September National Disaster Preparedness Month to encourage Americans to prepare for all type of emergencies, from natural disasters and major storms to terrorist attacks.

“Pre-staging emergency assets and having partnerships in place prior to an incident are best practices that ensure jurisdictions have the tools necessary to save lives when disaster strikes,” said Kari Tatro, BCFS Executive Vice President of Emergency Management. “With help from AmeriCares, we are creating a national model for preparedness that can – and should – be replicated in states and regions across the country.”

BCFS EMD is part of a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations operated by BCFS. BCFS EMD partners with FEMA, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and various states and municipalities across the nation. The organization is a nationally recognized leader in serving vulnerable populations during disasters, and developed the guidance document and curriculum for FEMA’s national Guidance for the Integration of Functional Needs Support Services in General Population Shelters.

AmeriCares has been aiding survivors of natural disasters, political conflict and extreme poverty around the world for more than 30 years, saving lives and restoring health and hope. AmeriCares Emergency Response program helps communities and health care facilities worldwide prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. The organization delivers medicines and relief supplies, awards funding to local organizations assisting the recovery and helps health care providers prepare for future emergencies. AmeriCares emergency response experts responded to the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, and most recently, Hurricane Sandy in the northeast.

AmeriCares and BCFS EMD first partnered in 2011 when AmeriCares awarded the agency a grant to develop protocols and procedures for medical shelters, build capacity for alternate care sites, and develop and deliver disaster medical training courses.

About AmeriCares

AmeriCares is a nonprofit global health and disaster relief organization that delivers medicines, medical supplies and aid to people in need around the world and across the United States. Since it was established in 1982, AmeriCares has distributed more than $11 billion in humanitarian aid to 164 countries. For more information, visit


BCFS Health and Human Services’ Emergency Management Division (BCFS EMD) provides all hazards preparedness consultation, incident management and full-scale emergency response support to local, state and federal agencies throughout the U.S. BCFS began its work in emergency management during the 1993 Branch Davidian incident in Waco, Texas, providing emergency sheltering for the children caught in the crossfire. Its Incident Management Team members have responded to every major critical incident in the U.S. in the past 12 years, including 9/11, the H1N1 flu pandemic, and countless hurricanes, tornados, fires, floods, hazardous material spills and earthquakes. For more information, visit Or for emergency response services 24-hours a day, call 1 (800) 337-0373.

Thursday, September 19, 2013