It's happened before here in Arkansas, and we at AAMSCO remembered very well after the more recent tornado ripped through the area March 31. Here's a look back at the one that hit Vilonia, AR.
Little Rock, AR - May 3, 2011 - After a tornado smashed through Vilonia, Arkansas on April 25th, 2011, AAMSCO Identification Products employees immediately responded. Since the company sells and supports Emergency Event Management mobile solutions, they assisted the local Emergency Management officials in developing a plan to issue credentials for the hundreds of volunteers who came to assist with the clean up. The storm which killed five people, destroyed 60 homes, damaged another 300, and virtually wiped out the town.
Once the Faulkner County Office of Emergency Management and the Vilonia Fire Department established their command center to account for the First Responders and their resources, attention turned to coordinating the hundreds of people who were pouring into the devastated community.
Vehicles driving through damaged areas to see the destruction were causing problems for the utility trucks and volunteer workers making repairs. Additional issues with looting, theft, safety, and security were a big concern for areas that were without power. Emergency Management officials began releasing guidelines for those who volunteered to assist with the clean-up operation from the storm damage in the area.
AAMSCO responded by setting up a volunteer/resident check-in station at a local command post. There all volunteers were required to present a state issued identification card before the individual could receive a volunteer ID credential and their work assignment.
The process involved swiping the individual’s driver’s license through a reader that entered the information into a database and also checked them in on-scene. Later this information was used to generate a detailed report. During this same process, an ID card with a barcode was printed and issued. This card was used for access to controlled areas and it was also scanned if the volunteer returned again the next day. By scanning the barcode when the volunteer returned, the individual was quickly checked-in and immediately received their new work assignment. Ultimately no volunteers were allowed to enter the disaster zone without an ID issued from the check-in command post. Those without a badge were escorted to this command post to get one or out of town.
More than 1,800 credentials were issued during the six days which AAMSCO employees checked in the volunteers and residents.
“The ability to issue and monitor the volunteers and residents using on-site issued credentials helped us tremendously with our ability to control and manage this many people coming into our devastated community," said Fire Chief Keith Hillman. "We are grateful to the employees of AAMSCO who provided the resources and technology to help manage these otherwise devastating circumstances for our town."