IASC Trailer Speeds up Response and Provides Privacy

IASC Trailer Speeds up Response and Provides Privacy

Yarnell Individual Assistance Center and the stocked ADEM IASC trailer. (Photo by: ADEM Staff)

When a disaster strikes a community, the Arizona Division of Emergency Management’s (ADEM) Human Services Branch provides recovery assistance to impacted individuals. They do so inside an Individual Assistance Center (IASC), a place when people can get assistance after a disaster.  Last year, the Human Services Branch applied for a grant from the State Homeland Security Grant Program through the Arizona Department Homeland Security with the intent of funding a fully stocked IASC trailer. 



The Human Services Branch was awarded the necessary funds in February 2014 and then set out to purchase the trailer and necessary supplies. This enables the state to set up two IASC’s simultaneously if needed.


The 6-by-12-foot trailer holds tables, chairs, privacy partitions, and other supplies needed to set up an IASC anywhere one is needed. The new trailer is permanently stocked and easily hitches up to a half-ton sports utility vehicle or truck.


The Human Services Branch establishes IASCs to provide people in impacted communities a convenient place to receive assistance for disaster recovery, resources and referrals. Local organizations like the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army assist disaster survivors in meeting their immediate needs following a disaster or emergency.


Many communities work to pre-identify an IASC location like a school gymnasium, library or community center in preparation for an emergency. The hard part is getting the necessary supplies to get the IASC up and running. 


A community may be able to round up some tables and chairs, but one item that most organizations do not have is privacy partitions. The privacy partitions are very important. At the IASC, people sit down to share their needs surrounded by strangers.


“The partitions provide the people struck by disaster a little privacy to share their confidential information,” said Dan Porth, Human Services Branch Manager. “They are taking the first step in putting their life back together. A little privacy goes a long way in helping them feel comfortable.”


As a Disaster Recovery reservist, Joan Brown is often the first contact in the IASC for survivors. She assesses their needs and directs them to the resources that can assist them. It’s much easier when those resources are sitting in the same room. “I identify what the organizations are able to supply during disasters to those people I am helping,” she said. “I can then send them right over to a specific group across the room.”


Having the trailer stocked and ready to go at a moment’s notice ensures the IASC will be up and running in as little time as possible. The ADEM Logistics Section team, in support of the Human Services team, is saved from running around, gathering equipment and packing a vehicle. In the past, the Logistics Section has had to rent vehicles and/or trailers to get needed supplies to a disaster area.  Now, it just takes a phone call and the prepacked trailer is on its way.


Having two IASC packages that are ready to go is an added benefit. “Unfortunately, we sometimes have to respond to more than one disaster at a time, like in 2011 with the Wallow and Monument fires,” said Porth. “Now one community doesn’t have to wait on us as we gather supplies and equipment.”



The IASC packages are just one way ADEM is working to provide quality service to Arizonans.