As many as 400 Doña Ana County residents can be given temporary shelter in the event of an emergency, thanks to a grant that recently purchased two mobile units ready to deliver necessary supplies anywhere they are needed in the county.
The Office of Emergency Management, or OEM, is a joint preparedness support organization of Doña Ana County and the City of Las Cruces. The OEM used the $48,000 grant to purchase 400 cots, lanterns, first aid kits, blankets, inflatable pillows, personal hygiene kits, lamps and weather radios that can all be packed tightly into two 16-foot trailers.
The grant was funded by the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
One trailer will be permanently stationed at the Doña Ana County Fire Station and Hazmat Facility in Santa Teresa; the second trailer will be kept at the Doña Ana County Fire and Emergency Training Facility in Las Cruces, according to David Almaguer, the OEM supervisor.
“Having a dedicated resource that can be ready to respond to emergency situations in both the southern and northern part of the county was the goal,” said Almaguer. “If there is a need to establish an emergency shelter due to a neighborhood evacuation or extensive power outage, the OEM could set up a shelter at a local high school in a matter of hours with the supplies in these two trailers. All of these supplies combined can provide temporary, overnight accommodations for as many as 400 people.”
Almaguer said the supplies in each trailer could have been used in recent emergency situations like the 2006 flood in Hatch that displaced dozens of families.
“They can also be used in the event we experience another winter freeze that could potentially lead to power outages and people without heat for several days,” Almaguer added.
In addition to the 400 units ready for use in Doña Ana County, other municipalities throughout the state also received the same funding, intended for the same use.
“If there were a larger emergency, we can send our resources to other parts of New Mexico, or we can request additional assistance in the event it is needed here,” said Almaguer.