Topekans, Kansans Stand Ready To Assist Moore, OK

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Topeka area groups and state officials say they are ready to assist tornado recovery operations in Oklahoma.

The Kansas Capital Area Chapter of the Red Cross in Topeka was mobilizing to contact volunteers Monday night. Officials with the organization said they would be sending their Emergency Response Vehicle. They also would have logistics supervisors along with health services and mental health volunteers responding to assist.

Capital Area Chapter Communications Director Meghan Spreer says the Topeka contingent is among more than 20 emergency response vehicles being mobilized to support the Oklahoma Red Cross. In addition, she says, chapters are preparing trailers of additional relief supplies, including shelter supplies, to move to the area.

Sharon Watson with the Kansas Adjutant General's Office said Kansas is part of an emergency mutual aid compact, through which states would request assistance during a disaster. She said, as of Monday night, Oklahoma had not expressed a need. However, she said immediate requests might be for specialized services not available locally. Other requests typically come the next day, once local responders have had time to assess their needs.

Shawnee Co. Emergency Management Director Dave Sterbenz echoed Watson's comments. He said local emergency management crews stand ready to assist when and if a request is made. He says it is important for out-of-state crews to wait for a request and assigned need, so they don't end up hindering, rather than helping, the response.