Representatives from a number of social service and community organizations came together Friday to discuss whether Phelps County should form a Community Organization Active in Disasters (COAD)
Representatives from a number of social service and community organizations came together Friday to discuss whether Phelps County should form a Community Organization Active in Disasters (COAD).
The meeting which took place at the Phelps County Courthouse was sponsored by the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and the American Red Cross Heart of Missouri Chapter.
COADs already exist in a number of Missouri counties including Pulaski County.
The impetus for the meeting was in part a response to the flooding and damage that occurred throughout the county in August.
Philip Imam of the Red Cross noted that while a community does a good job of providing immediate emergency assistance, there are needs that victims have that go beyond the first few days or weeks. That is where a COAD would be helpful.
"COAD helps in that long-term recovery. It is a place where people can figure out which organizations one can go to for this or that," said Imam.
Representatives from GRACE, Tri-County Center for Independent Living, Phelps County Commission, Pathways, First Assembly of God, Phelps/Maries County Health Department, Salvation Army and Christian Campus Fellowship were among those present.
Some representatives were questioning whether such an umbrella organization is necessary given the fact that these organizations are already working together in crisis situations.
Imam noted that a COAD would only add to these area partnerships that have be formed. It would formalize and provide structure to these collective efforts.
"One of the benefits of forming a COAD is that we will be supported by Missouri's Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD). You can apply for funding through VOAD," noted Imam. "A COAD allows us to form a group of case managers who can document the specific needs that are out there."
The group plans to meet again Friday, Oct. 11, at 1 p.m. at the Phelps County Courthouse multipurpose room. The group's goal is to bring in additional community organizations and leaders to the discussion.
Any organization that has a mission of helping people is encouraged to attend.
Interested parties should RSVP to Phillip Iman, Red Cross disaster specialist, at Phillip. Iman@redcross.org.