CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Tractor trailers sit on the ramp at the West Virginia Air National Guard Base in Charleston awaiting further instructions.  Every few minutes a semi would pull to the gate, the driver would get his orders, and he was on his way.

“We centralize it here and the state coordinates with the central distribution points,” said Lt. Colonel Jim Dulin. “They send us an order through the DOH dispatcher, we take the order, and send out the trucks.”

Several of the trucks hauling the precious cargo of bottled water had police escorts into distribution points in the Charleston city limits. Others headed out to remote locations to deliver water which is being distributed to the more than 300,000 affected by the contamination in a nine county region.

During past disasters like the Derecho and Hurricane Sandy, water was delivered to the air base and off loaded onto National Guard trucks. Dulin said this is a different kind of emergency.

“Everything is so close and everybody wanted so much water,” he said. “You don’t want to double handle, that’s a lot of work.”

So many of the trucks hauling the water from Cumberland, Maryland to Charleston wait around for a half hour to two hours to get their deliver orders. Dulin said the National Guard is poised to take care of deliveries if a distribution point needs a smaller amount, but so far that hasn’t happened.

“It’s FEMA’s show, but it takes a lot of coordination,” Dulin said. “Our job as a base is to give them space. If they need a electricity or a light fixed, we handle little things.  If they need a box of pens, it may not sound like a big deal, but if you need one, you need one.”

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  • Rick

    The same operation is going on in Kanawha City at the NG tire repair warehouse.

  • Dale

    Police escort? Waste of resource?

    • Anonymous

      As a WVDOH employee hauling water. This police have been very helpful in helping deliver this water. The escort is very helpful because the DOH employees are from all over the state and most are unfamiliar with the area. Police escorts also are very helpful in traffic control to stop traffic to allow truck to get in some of these areas as they are very tight to get in having to stop traffic to back in.

  • Curious

    Why does this article give the National Guard credit? I don't see any National Guardsman doing the work in the pictures. I see the Charleston Police Dept, private sector drivers, and, I believe a WV Dept of Agriculture employee? The National Guard is doing work, but so are a lot of other agencies. I appreciate all of them.

    • Anonymous

      As a WVDOH employee working up there hauling water, the National Guard in might no be pictured but they are there working. They along with FEMA are coordinating with local 911 centers to dispatch trucks to where water is needed when a trailer is empty and needs picked up along with delivering another trailer load as needed.

  • cutty77

    I think this part went very well. West Virginia Wild and Wonderful.