In response to an EF-4 tornado that hit Ringgold, Ga., on April 27, Terex Construction was one of several equipment manufacturers that donated time and equipment to aid the First Response Team of America in its cleanup efforts.
Working in North Carolina when the tornado touched down, Tad Agoglia, founder of First Response Team of America, and his crew packed up immediately and arrived on the scene within hours. Terex provided a PT-100G compact track loader equipped with a grapple bucket attachment for First Response Team to use for more than two months. The PT-100G was selected because it has a 99.9-hp engine and a 4,000-pound operating capacity, providing the power and performance the First Response Team needed to easily and quickly remove storm debris.
With the help of hundreds of volunteers, donations and specialized equipment, the First Response Team worked alongside municipal crews in Ringgold to remove thousands of yards of storm debris from power lines, the roadways and the cemetery. And because many homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover the cost of cleanup, Agoglia’s crews have also helped homeowners move debris from their lots to the roadside for pick-up, free of charge.
“It is our commitment to save lives and restore hope,” said Agoglia. “We were determined to get right in the middle of what was going on, simply because it was the right thing to do. First Response Team is a non-profit organization and is able to assist our neighbors in need thanks to the generosity of donors and volunteers.
“Using the Terex PT-100G, we could clear a whole home site within hours. We helped more than 70 families by removing storm debris and clearing their properties so rebuilding could begin.”
On the ground for almost 50 miles, with sustaining winds between 175 to 190 mph, the tornado left a one-third to one-half mile wide path of devastation in its wake.
“I have never seen anything like it,” said Jamie Wright, Terex product manager. “The tornado only lasted about five minutes, and in that time it destroyed hundreds of homes, without even siding or shingles left on some sites. We had worked with First Response before, donating the use of two compact track loaders and a utility vehicle to help with the Gulf oil spill clean-up, so Terex was eager and willing to help again.”
Because Ringgold is located in a valley, the First Response Team had to work in very hilly terrain. Cleanup efforts were hampered by rain, leaving the ground very soft and extremely muddy. The PT-100G features patented Posi-Track suspended undercarriage technology with 18-inch-wide rubber tracks, giving the unit the necessary flotation, traction and versatility so it could work on virtually any material and in any ground condition it encountered in tornado cleanup efforts.
Since May 2007, Agoglia and his team have filled the gap between the onset of a disaster and the arrival of traditional relief agencies, when too many communities must fend for themselves because the resources necessary for rescue and recovery — equipment, tools and personnel — are damaged, inaccessible or unavailable. When disaster strikes, First Response deploys immediately with a fleet of more than $1 million in specialized disaster response equipment to join local first responders in saving lives and restoring hope. For more information, find First Response Team on Twitter at @firstresponse, on Facebook at First Response Team of America or on the Web at www.firstresponseteam.org.