N. Providence, Rhode Island Man Publishes Book Documenting Experience in Katrina Rescue Effort

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Anthony Veltri, Rhode Island entrepreneur, former adventure photographer, and part-time EMS responder spent last summer converting a box truck into a cutting-edge $200,000 mobile emergency operations center mapping unit with his father and grandfather.

Anthony Veltri, Rhode Island entrepreneur, former adventure photographer, and part-time EMS responder spent last summer converting a box truck into a cutting-edge $200,000 mobile emergency operations center mapping unit with his father and grandfather. Most of his friends thought he was crazy to spend all that time and money on something so large and seemingly excessive. Then Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, and Veltri received the call he had been waiting for.

Veltri was recruited by a telecommunications agency in the Gulf area who was looking for volunteers. Not only did they want Veltri’s expertise in GIS mapping, but they were also looking to utilize the mobile mapping unit’s amenities – satellite phone service, high-speed Internet, electricity, GIS computers, air conditioning, and other essential services that were missing from the devastated area and necessary for reconstruction efforts.

Veltri immediately gassed up the MMU, Rapid Fire One, and set to assist where possible. While there he unexpectedly met up with Rhode Island Urban Search and Rescue, a state agency comprised of Rhode Island State Troopers, Firefighters and K9 search dogs – the best of the best of Rhode Islands emergency personnel. The RIUSAR team needed GIS mapping to determine where displaced homes had been deposited by the raging flood waters. Within hours of meeting the RIUSAR team, Veltri was producing maps of their search area for the next day’s mission.

Since his return from the Gulf Coast, Veltri has developed a passion and reverence for emergency response. “You can be the most knowledgeable person with the best resources, but unless you know how to integrate those skills and resources into the existing emergency responder network, you can’t be effective.” And with effectiveness comes saving lives and communities. This insight compelled him to publish the photographs he captured during the rescue.

Veltri’s book is a celebration of Katrina’s rescue efforts through the eyes of a volunteer incident responder. The book focuses on Hancock County, Mississippi one of the areas hardest hit by the storm. The large, vivid photographs capture the destruction of nature and the hope brought by “the resourceful and selfless nature of the people who call the smallest state in the Union home.” The photographs of survivors, devastated landscape, and the struggle of relief workers illustrate the narrative which educates on the importance of organized response and mapping systems in disaster relief.

A portion of the proceeds of the book’s sales will go to the self-funded RIUSAR team as a grant towards new equipment and software. To purchase a copy, please visit http://www.RapidFireIndustries.com, or contact Veltri direct at (888) GIS-MAPS.

Contact:

Anthony Veltri

RFI, LLC

17 Longview Avenue

N. Providence, RI 02904

Phone: (888) GIS-MAPS

Email: Anthony@rfi-llc.com

Web: http://www.RapidFireIndustries.com

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