Representatives from Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and the Butler County Dept. of Emergency Services and Western PA VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) met with local agencies, churches and other community organizations last week at First United Methodist Church of Butler. Amy Marree from Butler Co. Dept. of Emergency Services, briefed the organizations on the situation following recent flooding that affected dozens of homes and families in the city of Butler. United Way of Butler County, Center for Community Resources, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, United Methodist Church, Team Rubicon, PA Volunteers, and others were among those present.
The group will work together to coordinate a Butler Clean-Up Blitz on Saturday, August 12th to address those homes that are still in need of assistance with cleaning and sanitizing. Trained volunteers from several of the above organizations have been working to assess and clean-up since the flash flooding occurred overnight between July 5-6th in several neighborhoods. Leaders feel that the most of remaining work on approximately 20 homes could be completed in one day if a large number volunteers from the Butler community can come out for one Saturday. Tasks will include yard work, power washing and sanitizing basements with bleach, debris removal, mold remediation, and mucking out. Residents who have been affected and have not already requested assistance with cleanup should call 211 to be added to the list of sites for the Blitz.
The Blitz will begin at 8am on the 12th and volunteers are asked to call 2-1-1 to register in advance. The Salvation Army will serve food to volunteers and residents involved. Those interested in volunteering should call 2-1-1 by Tuesday August 8th and will be assigned to a task and location based on need and ability. Individuals and groups are welcome. If registering as a group, please have one person call with the number of people and ages. Individual volunteers will be paired with others. Special skills and experience are welcome but not necessary.
There is no need for additional donations of clothing or personal items at this time because items are already available through these organizations. Housing and basic needs are the priorities for the response. Of the gravest concern is that furnaces and hot water tanks have been damaged and need to be replaced so that families can safely be in their own homes. Many households do not have the extra funds to handle those expenses and the damage has not been covered by insurance. There are approximately 44 homes that require replacement of water heater and/or furnaces. The Butler Emergency Relief Initiative (BERI) have funds which are being utilized to assist those with financial hardships but the community are calling for additional donations to help meet the need. Monetary donations can be made payable to BERI and sent to 407A W. Jefferson Street, Butler, PA 16001. Please be sure to specify flood relief on the check.