While the nation watches as tropical storm Isaac pounds the Gulf Coast, various agencies are pitching in and providing resources to help the communities. But officials in Alaska know that when natural disaster strikes in the Last Frontier, it will be more difficult for help to come to the state.
That’s why the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is hoping to create the first emergency food supply and storage for the state. It would also be one of the first in the nation in its magnitude.
The state is requesting the private sector to propose ideas and plans to create an emergency food cache for the state, in Anchorage and Fairbanks, to help communities when local resources shrink.
When there is a disaster, the city launches the initial response, and in Anchorage, the main food source is from the Food Bank of Alaska and the Anchorage School District. Dawn Brantly with the Municipality Office of Emergency Management says when resources at a local level begin to deplete, the state steps in.
That’s why John Madden, the director of the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, says creating an emergency food supply for the state is so important. He said past incidents show how our state has much more challenges than the Lower 48, and the 2009 eruption of Mt. Redoubt showed how having supplies and food locally is especially important if travelling by air or by water is put to a halt.
“We learned the lessons then, that the supply lines that bring in all this food is tenuous and long,” said Madden. “We want to make sure we have resilient supply lines so if anything disturbs, disrupts, or destroys those lines, we want to be able to care for our people in an orderly way.”
Responses from the private sector are due by September 21st. The proposals will be evaluated and the state will contract a vendor that meets the criteria and goals for self sufficiency by the Governor.