PARIS, TX February 26, 2013 – Wildfires, thunderstorms and certainly tornadoes are all common occurrences across the states of Texas and Oklahoma. That’s why it’s imperative that the American Red Cross in Lamar County is prepared in advance of any such unexpected event.
This Saturday, March 2, more than 40 Red Cross chapters across Texas and Oklahoma will join forces to simultaneously test their ability to respond to a simulated tornado outbreak. The role of the more than 700 disaster assessment volunteers will be to determine the types of residential damage caused by the mock tornado outbreak.
In Paris, trained Red Cross volunteers will approach pre-selected neighborhoods where they will find stakes with an image of a home that has been impacted. They will determine the type and severity of damage from the image, and then relay that information back to the Red Cross emergency operations center. This important step is the catalyst to all Red Cross services.
“It’s critical that we have an accurate assessment of impacted homes as quickly as possible,” said Jane Helberg, Chair, American Red Cross Lamar County. “That step tells us how many meals need to be prepared, how many volunteers need to be activated, how many shovels and rakes we need to have on hand and so much more. It drives the entire Red Cross response.”
Local volunteers will report to the American Red Cross office at 2673 North Main at 8:15a.m., participate in a briefing, and then hit the neighborhoods by 9:30a.m. The drill is expected to last until noon, followed by an after-action review from 12:00p.m-2:00p.m.
“Without question, this drill will help Paris and the Lamar County community to be better prepared for future disasters”, said John Davis, Executive Director. “We saw with the outbreaks in DFW and Woodward, Oklahoma last year that disasters can and do affect both of our states. The more we train through exercises like this one, the better we can help our neighbors when they truly need us.”
For information on becoming a trained Red Cross volunteer in Lamar County, go to redcross.org/northeasttexas, or call 903.737.4390.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.