The American Red Cross is completing a first-of-its-kind survey of mobile home communities across the 17-county Western New York/Finger Lakes Region. The data collected during this survey, which began nearly two years ago, will greatly speed service delivery to mobile home residents following a large-scale disaster.
"Mobile homes historically incur the most damage, regardless of the physical location of the community or its accessibility," said volunteer Sarah Perkins of the NYS Disaster Assessment Lead and originator of this project. "Without this data, my experience has taught me that it can take several days to recover addresses from lost mobile homes because the residents move on and we can't trace them, so they may well go without the emergency assistance they deserve."
The data collection is currently about 90 percent complete, with parts of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Ontario and Wayne counties to be surveyed in the coming weeks. The information gathered, including the addresses of every mobile home in the region, will be stored in an electronic database which all Red Cross responders will be able to access following a disaster.
"This is all about preparedness and readiness, both on our part and the residents of these communities," Perkins added. "We've had a great response to these surveys so far, and we hope the remaining communities will help us complete an accurate accounting of every mobile home community in the region."
The mobile home survey is the second half of a long-term project the Greater Rochester Chapter began over four years ago, collecting similar data for every apartment complex in Monroe and western Ontario counties.
The Western New York/Finger Lakes Region is the first in the country to have this data available in a central database. Red Cross responders will be able to refer to this database for critical information and publish an impact assessment and preliminary damage assessment report within the first 24 hours of an event, helping ensure emergency supplies including food, water and shelter are provided to residents who need it most.
Disaster Assessment volunteers from across the Western New York/Finger Lakes Region have been conducting the surveys. The Central New York Region has also agreed to participate in the mobile home survey project, and it is hoped that other regions will follow suit.