As we enter the summer season the likelihood of an incident requiring Red Cross disaster relief services increases significantly. To prepare, the American Red Cross conducted a disaster exercise in Sturgis that involved opening and operating a shelter. This exercise helped us refresh our skills and train new volunteers.
The Red Cross worked in cooperation with Meade County Emergency Management as they prepared their capabilities for the summer season. The scenario was based on a Sturgis Rally mass casualty incident. Meade County executed a functional exercise response to the scenario. The Red Cross opened a shelter in the 1st United Methodist Church in Sturgis. We also provided volunteers with disaster training, discuss scenario specifics, conduct a feeding operation, and set up the Safe & Well linking system. Our team included volunteers from communities across the Black Hills region.
One of the most challenging situations we might face in the Black Hills Region is a major disaster event during the Sturgis Rally. As we reflect on last year’s May exercise in Custer and recall how the Myrtle Fire resulted in an actual sheltering operation at the same site, we are fully aware of the importance of preparedness.
Thank you to our talented Red Cross volunteers and the 1st United Methodist Church in Sturgis for hosting our sheltering simulation.