Federal, state, local officials deal with possibility of local disaster

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LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – The images from Puerto Rico show devastation after Hurricane Maria tore through the U.S. territory.

There were similar images when hurricanes recently devastated Florida and Texas.

In all three instances, donations have poured in to help those in need.

“People want to help and they want to send things,” said Duane Hagelgans with the Center for Disaster and Research Education at Millersville University.

Hagelgans said organizing those things isn’t always the easiest.

Members of the South Central Task Force know that too well, having gone through the Nickel Mines school shooting in 2006.

“Sometimes it’s things you need, like money, and sometimes it’s things, unfortunately, you don’t need,” Hagelgans said. “Then there’s this whole coordination issue.”

A class hosted by FEMA at the Lancaster County Public Safety Training Center on Thursday dealt with that issue.

“In the end, a donated can of beans can cost $100 to transport, warehouse, and distribute to a person,” said Michelle Breeland, a FEMA liaison.

Breeland said folks can donate anything they want to those in need, but she added that it takes very little coordination to donate money.

“If every person donated a dollar instead of a can of beans, whatever the survivors’ need was, it can be met through financial contributions,” she said.Get breaking news, weather and traffic on the go. Download our News App and our Weather App for your phone and tablet.

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