An American Tragedy: Helping the People of West, Texas - ITS Tactical
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An American Tragedy: Helping the People of West, Texas

By Kelly Black

It has been a tragic week in America, first with the bombings in Boston on Monday, April 15th and now with the massive explosion in Texas. Many fortunate people are able to carry on with life as normally as possible, but for others directly affected by these disasters our help is needed.

Earlier this week we shared information from various sources on how you can help the city of Boston and the victims of the marathon bombings. We wanted to follow up and provide information on how you can help the people of West, Texas as they try to cope and move forward after the horrific fertilizer plant explosion on Wednesday, April 17th.

As you probably already know, the small town of West, Texas has been devastated by a chemical explosion occurring after a fire at a the West Fertilizer Plant this past Wednesday evening. First responders and fire fighters were on the scene when the blast occurred that destroyed a heavily populated part of town that included a near by school, homes, an apartment complex, a nursing home and other structures. The USGS measured the blast as strong enough to be classified as a 2.1 magnitude earthquake.

Search and rescue efforts are on going as 35 -40 people are still unaccounted for. Numerous fatalities have been confirmed, including Dallas Fire-Rescue Captain Kenny Harris and several other West firefighters and first responders who were helping with efforts to contain the fire. The city of West is reported as being secure, according to Waco Police Department Sergeant William Swanton, as “plenty of law enforcement is stationed around the town” and “no fire is out of control.”

A determination has not been made yet as to what started the fire that caused the explosion, but an investigation is currently underway.

The American Red Cross arrived in West within hours of the tragedy and is helping with shelter, food, water and blood donation efforts. To help the Red Cross and other relief organizations here is what we can do to help:

  • Governor Rick Perry’s office has provided links with helpful information on where to find help locating family members or provide local donations
  • Donate Blood through Carter BloodCare. Locations can be found around the country where you can donate. If you’re in the Dallas/Fort Worth area tomorrow (Saturday, April 20th) join Lone Star Medics for their Meet and Bleed event in Mansfield for lunch at 11:00 a.m. at Texas Roadhouse Texas Roadhouse (940 N. Hwy 287,  Mansfield, TX 76063)  then blood donations from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. at a nearby Carter BloodCare facility (920 US Hwy 287 N.  Mansfield, TX 76063). Lone Star Medics will provide a free LSM patch to anyone participating in the blood drive, as well as a 15% discount on any course that LSM offers. ITS will also be there and have some swag available to everyone as well.
  • Collect/donate items for West, Texas residents such as toiletries, diapers, baby formula, clothes, hydrogen peroxide, gauze, rubbing alcohol, dog food, cat food, air mattresses, etc. and check Fox News DFW on Facebook for up-to-date drop off locations
  • Donate money to the American Red Cross and/or Salvation Army
  • Share links and contact information for donation/collection efforts in your community

Relief efforts will be ongoing as West recovers from this massive disaster. Keep West, Texas and all those who are helping this small Texas town to cope in your thoughts and prayers.

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