Red Cross Division Disaster Executive Keith Alvey came to Las Vegas to share his experiences while serving as the Disaster Director on Hurricane Sandy for the first 7 weeks of the hurricane response. In doing so, he led one of the largest American Red Cross operations in 5 years. His experiences illustrated the innovations that the American Red Cross continues to make in disaster response.
Keith shared how, when Red Cross vehicles arrived in some neighborhoods to help and feed the residents, they were greeted with up to 2 feet of sand in the streets making it immpossible for the Emergency Response Vehicles (ERV) to respond to those areas. So with this discovery, the Red Cross reevaluted and came up with solutions that worked for the people in stead.
New technolgies like social media also played a part. When some of the neighboorhoods were out of contact, it was through social media that the ERVs found out that there were additional areas to which they needed to deliver care.
Keith spoke to local emergency management about the need to make sure that a plan is in place for localities and community partners to have an open line of communication during times of disaster, and ways in which to facilitate those relationships.
From a local point of view, it was nice to hear Keith speak to the local support that Southern Nevada gave in terms of supplying donations and volunteers to the response.