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Salvation Army to hold disaster preparedness open house in Rhinelander

The Salvation Army assists first responders at wildfire in Northern California.
Salvation Army
The Salvation Army assists first responders at wildfire in Northern California.

The potentially severe weather in the forecast for Wisconsin this week is a good reminder that it’s important to have a plan in place.

The Salvation Army wants to make sure you have the tools you need should the worst happen.

Benny Benedict knows firsthand how important it is to have a disaster plan in place.

“An EF-4 tornado hit my hometown and it hit hard. It destroyed a thousand homes. You’re like, ‘This can’t happen. Not in my hometown. Right?’ sure did,” said Benedict.

Now, as the Director of Emergency Disaster Services for the Salvation Army’s Wisconsin and Upper Michigan Division, part of Benedict’s job is making sure people plan for worst, while hoping for the best.

He says there’s many unknowns that could strike at any time and even having a partial plan in place is better than being completely caught off guard.

“We never think a disaster is going to happen to us. Or that we’re going to be in a situation where we’re going to have to support ourselves for maybe one or two weeks or longer. Do you have enough food? Enough water? Do you have your medications lined up? Do you have enough supplies for your pet?,” said Benedict.

The Salvation Army wants to help people get started on their plans.

It’s holding an open house in Rhinelander Tuesday. It’s from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. with a presentation at 6:00 p.m.

The open house is at the First Congregational United Church of Christ on Larch Street in Rhinelander.

“I invite everybody to stop by to learn about Salvation Army. Hear about the disaster services and how to prepare for a really bad day. Hopefully you’ll never have to use that plan, but I think it’d be an extreme benefit that they have a plan in place,” said Benedict.

You’ll also be able to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how the Salvation Army responds to disasters.

The Salvation Army will soon be better prepared to respond to disasters in the Northwoods.

It will be getting a kitchen trailer that will be housed between Vilas and Oneida counties.

When something like a major fire happens, first responders can be on scene for hours.

This trailer will be able to up shop at a disaster site and help feed first responders while they work or to people affected by the disaster.

“Because this are of Wisconsin is so remote, we have to have the capacity to go out and cook meals on site. We can’t just go to the local Subway or Jimmy John’s cause there might not be anything,” said Benedict.

With the truck and trailer combination, Salvation Army can park the trailer while freeing up the truck to make supply runs as needed.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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