• Michelle Hartfield

The Salvation Army Uses New Mobile Command Center for Response in Arkansas and Oklahoma

With funding from a grant from the Lilly Endowment, and as part of a territorial effort to expand its cadre of specialized equipment, The Salvation Army’s Arkansas and Oklahoma division recently acquired a new mobile command center. The unit, acquired in early April this year, was able to serve two communities impacted by severe storms during its first month of service. 


Many of the events the AOK division responds to are in rural and secluded areas without access to workspaces. The mobile command center allows the incident management team to arrive on scene and be ready to serve the community, no set up needed. 


It provides a meeting space for the team and a respite center for Salvation Army and partner agency staff who might need a break from the weather during work in intense heat, rain, or cold. In fact, the center was put to just this use during response to the tornado that hit Barnsdall, Oklahoma in early May. Temperatures were above 90 degrees during an all-day distribution event. Volunteers and partners could take a few minutes to cool off and rehydrate in the command center before going back to work. 


Equipped with a Starlink satellite internet unit, the center can also provide internet for staff and partner agencies in areas where cell and internet signals might otherwise be down. This allows teams to respond quickly and efficiently with no delays caused by downed communication.  


Kevin Chinault, Divisional Disaster Director for the Arkansas and Oklahoma Division said, “The new mobile command center allows The Salvation Army to provide hope and serve those impacted by disasters in rural areas and areas where The Salvation Army does not have physical locations more efficiently.” 


The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services remains committed to preparedness and ensuring their volunteers, staff, specialized equipment, and supply chains are ready and prepared for response whenever and wherever they are needed.