LANCASTER, Pa., July 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The First Response Team of America today recognized Lowe's for its $750,000 donation to aid the team's disaster relief efforts for the fourth consecutive year. Using specialized trucks, rescue equipment and heavy machinery, the First Response Team assists local communities and homeowners in the first few critical hours after natural disasters. Lowe's has contributed more than $2 million since 2012 to help keep the team on the road, and Lowe's Heroes have volunteered thousands of hours at disaster sites.
From two Illinois towns torn apart by a tornado to historic flooding that left more than two dozen dead in Texas, the First Response Team has come to the aid of nearly 700 people impacted by disaster in 2015. As summer storms and the Atlantic hurricane season pick up steam, the team is ready to mobilize at any time to assist more communities.
"When communities have lost everything and face the daunting task of recovery, it's often difficult to know where to start," said Tad Agoglia, founder of the First Response Team. "Through our partnership with Lowe's and Lowe's Heroes, we jump-start recovery and help a community take its first steps toward rebuilding."
Since last year, the First Response Team has responded to tornadoes and floods in 16 communities and worked with local Lowe's Heroes to help homeowners in Arkansas, Mississippi, Illinois, Oklahoma and Texas. The team assists with search and rescue, clears roads, distributes emergency supplies, helps families dig through rubble to salvage valuables and clears homesites for rebuilding. The First Response Team has assisted more than 80 communities impacted by disasters since 2007.
"Communities don't always have the resources to provide the critical aid that's needed in the wake of disasters," said Joan Higginbotham, Lowe's director of community relations. "We've partnered with the First Response Team since 2012 to help ensure there are teams and resources immediately on the ground to help people in need. Their work helps instill hope when the days are darkest for communities."
In April, Lowe's Heroes joined the team as it helped more than 300 people recover after a tornado caused widespread damage in Fairdale and Rochelle, Illinois. A month later, the First Response Team partnered with Lowe's Heroes from six stores to help homeowners after a strong tornado churned through northeast Texas.
"I was still in shock and they started working on things immediately," said Joan Britz, whose home suffered major damage in the Texas storm. "The coordination from the team was great. What would have probably taken us two months to do, they did in one day."
ABOUT FIRST RESPONSE TEAM OF AMERICA
First Response Team of America is a nonprofit organization that responds to communities, free of charge, in the immediate wake of disasters with a fleet of highly specialized trucks and equipment. By studying weather patterns and communicating with leading meteorologists at The Weather Channel, FRTA anticipates when and where a disaster may strike and positions its team near storm locations to immediately be on the scene. Upon arrival, the team opens critical roadways blocked by debris and power lines; helps restart and mobilize critical service centers such as emergency rooms, nursing homes, shelters and critical first responder centers; provides temporary power solutions using industrial generators; provides lighting and infrared cameras for search and rescue; performs water rescues with its hovercraft; and supplies commercial water pumps to empty out low-lying areas of cities and critical buildings such as hospitals. Since May 2007, the team has responded to dozens of disasters in the United States and Haiti.
ABOUT LOWE'S IN THE COMMUNITY
Lowe's, a FORTUNE® 50 home improvement company, has a 50-year legacy of supporting the communities it serves through programs that focus on K-12 public education and community improvement projects. Since 2007, Lowe's and the Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation together have contributed more than $225 million to these efforts, and for more than two decades Lowe's Heroes employee volunteers have donated their time to make our communities better places to live. To learn more, visit Lowes.com/SocialResponsibility and LowesInTheCommunity.tumblr.com.
SOURCE Lowe's Companies, Inc.; First Response Team of America