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ARDA-MD Provides Assistance in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina


Prepared by Mason-Dixon Rescue Dogs

January 2006

After receiving a request for assistance from the Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, Fire Department, four members of Mason-Dixon Rescue Dogs (ARDA-MD) traveled to Bay St. Louis on September 10, 2005, to provide non-K-9 ground assistance following Hurricane Katrina. Preparations included stocking up on fuel, water, heater meals, and making sure vaccinations were up to date. The team was completely self-sufficient so as not to strain the already exhausted resources in the area.

The destruction left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina shocked the team. Streets once lined with beautiful homes were now large seas of debris. Residents who survived this catastrophe reported a 30-40 foot storm surge, evident by the debris caught high in the trees and in the power lines. MDRD assisted four other search and rescue organizations called to the area in order to cover as much ground as possible since the search area covered approximately 1000 acres, consisting mostly of debris piles and a few standing, yet structurally unsound, buildings.

Hazards were abundant, including open manholes under puddles of water, downed power lines, debris in trees and power lines, debris covering pools and sinkholes, sewage puddles, and unstable debris piles. Fortunately throughout their stay, there were no injuries. Great care was taken to insure that safety was a priority for all team members. Decontamination of footwear and equipment was mandated after all operational periods, as was time for R&R.

Mason-Dixon Rescue Dogs is proud to have been able to respond to this request for assistance and they would like to thank the Mayor of Bay St. Louis, the Bay St. Louis Fire Department, and all of the citizens of this wonderful town for their hospitality during this mission and wish them all the best.

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