As Hurricane Irene continues to churn northward along the Atlantic coast, the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief network is at work, alerting volunteers and planning how and where to deploy Southern Baptist DR units even before the hurricane slams into the East Coast.

Staff members at the North American Mission Board’s disaster operations center (DOC) in Alpharetta, Ga., are in talks with Southern Baptist Convention disaster relief leadership in Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland/Delaware, Pennsylvania/South Jersey, New York and New England, said Bruce Poss, NAMB’s disaster relief coordinator in Alpharetta.

Planning also is under way with SBDR’s partners in disaster relief — FEMA, the Red Cross, Salvation Army and National VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters). Incident command locations, feeding sites and feeding capacities are now being determined, Poss said.

Hurricane Irene is projected to be a Category 3 hurricane with 115 mph winds when it makes landfall somewhere along North Carolina’s eastern coast then move up the mid-Atlantic states and to New York and Long Island over the weekend. The season’s first hurricane is moving north at 14 mph, according to The Weather Channel.

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