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FEMA sets up staging site at Craig Field

Hundreds of tractor trailers full of water and other supplies are lining a runway at Craig Field awaiting orders to be deployed to Florida to assist victims of Hurricane Irma.

Jeff Glass, federal staging unit leader for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the airport is serving as a staging area for FEMA. Supplies started coming into Selma around Monday and will be deployed as needed to staging sites and points of distribution.

“What we’re doing now is staging approximately 600 trailers of water in anticipation of forward moving to the most affected areas of Florida,” Glass said. “What we do is forward lean, and we pre-position so that it’s close enough for us to move commodities to an effected area in a reasonable amount of time.”

According to FEMA, each trailer holds around 15,000 liters of water. Overall, FEMA has transferred more than 6.6 million meals and more than 4.6 million liters of water to Florida from multiple staging sites. Glass said the trailers at Craig Field are holding more than 10 million liters of water.

“That’s a lot of water,” Glass said. “We’ve moved a lot of product in a short amount of time.”

Along with the trailers full of water, there are also around 100 truck drivers and their rigs awaiting orders from FEMA headquarters.

“We have 100 shuttle drivers that are basically staged in place in case we need commodities moved in and out. Until we get an order from headquarters, that’s what we do,” said federal staging unit leader Kevin Jones. “We allocate these shuttle drivers, and we push these loads of water to alternate locations depending on what the need is.”

Jones said the Craig Field site has other supplies as well, such as meals, tarps and infant kits. Glass said the drivers will be on stand-by until orders are sent to deploy supplies to Florida.

“They kind of wait in the wings for our instructions so that we’re able to move stuff fairly rapidly once we get the order to move stuff,” Glass said.

FEMA also houses hundreds of mobile homes in Selma, so Glass said the location was convenient.

Glass said there is no time line set on when the water staged in Selma will be moved to Florida. Jones said it depends on the need of sites further south.