After a near-record number of tornadoes in 2011, yet another active severe weather season with above-normal tornadoes is expected in 2012. To prepare for the possibility of a tornado striking Chester County, the American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania is joining with several Chester County agencies to conduct a Tornado Readiness Drill on Saturday, June 2 at Avon Grove High School in West Grove, Pa. between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Last year a similar drill focused on hurricane readiness made all the difference during Hurricane Irene. That exercise allowed Red Cross staff and volunteers to prepare for the real thing and iron out any problems or issues ahead of time. This year, the Red Cross wants to ensure that people remain informed and prepared in the event of a tornado because in that region of Chester County, tornadoes are actually more prevalent than hurricanes. Most of what is practiced for a tornado, however, can be applied to any kind of large scale disaster.
During the drill, several local agencies, including the Chester County Department of Emergency Services, Chester County Animal Response Team, Medical Reserve Corps, and Chester County Food Bank, will train people in critical disaster relief skills like sheltering, food distribution, providing basic medical and childcare needs, caring for pets, and overall disaster response decision making.
This drill is designed to test the ability of Red Cross volunteers and various partner agencies in the region to respond to a hypothetical severe tornado where homes and businesses are destroyed and hundreds of people need a safe place to go.
The media are invited to cover the drill. The best time for visuals and interview opportunities will be from 8:30-10:30 a.m. as that will be set up time and when evacuees will be arriving at the shelter. In addition to Red Cross personnel available, representatives from Chester County and FEMA will be on hand.
If interested, interviews previewing and/or recapping the tornado drill can also be arranged. Please contact Dave Schrader at Dave.Schrader2@redcross.org or (267) 246-4375.
The American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. The Red Cross is not a government agency. All Red Cross assistance is free of charge. Financial contributions are always welcomed and needed and can be made by going to RedCrossPhilly.org.
Contact: Dave Schrader (215) 299-4042 or after hours (215) 299-4889, Dave.Schrader@redcross.org