This past year has been an eventful and productive one for the Red Cross Humboldt-Del Norte Chapter. Spring brought with it the final phase of a two-part Coast Central Credit Union Grant given as part of the credit union’s Community Investment Program. The first phase was awarded during the last fiscal year and enabled the purchase of a new, fully stocked sheltering trailer that is now located in Arcata, a community which did not have a Red Cross trailer or a supply cache until this placement. This final award came on the heels of grant-funded training, including reaching out to hotels and motels in both counties that are located in tsunami inundation zones.
Just five months into its existence as a unified entity, the Humboldt-Del Norte Chapter staff and volunteers actively participated in the nationally-known Crescent City tsunami drill. Marking the 50th anniversary of a devastating 1964 tsunami, the drill consisted of many events including a guided historical walking tour and the evacuation and sheltering drill itself. In the walking tour, two of the Chapter’s Safe Corps members, Paul Fitzgerald and Hannah Juricic led participants through the downtown area affected by the 1964 tsunami. The third Safe Corps member, Mary Nguyen, was at the time deployed to help with the Disaster Response Operation taking place in Oso, Washington. Drill participants heard historical accounts of the disaster and were provided valuable tsunami safety information, information which they were then able to put into action during the drill.
More than 700 people within the tsunami evacuation area in Crescent City participated in the drill, evacuating their work, schools, and homes to head towards three Red Cross shelters set up for the occasion. At the shelters, the Safe Corps members helped educate the residents as to what they could expect to find and do in a working shelter thereby helping them prepare for the all-too-real possibility that they would one day have to stay in one.
Paul, Hannah, and Mary’s team were the 11th Safe Corps team at the Chapter, and three new members will be continuing their efforts this fall. In fact, all the Safe Corps positions in the California Northwest Region have been renewed for an additional 10.5-month term. The region will have a total of five members to continue empowering its communities to facilitate access to Red Cross programs and services starting in late August. Regarding the Chapter’s goals for the coming year, Executive Director, Barbara Caldwell says, “We will continue to forge partnerships, build our volunteer base, and serve the needs of both counties.”