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Red Cross of Alaska Shelter Drill in Fairbanks to Prepare Interior/Far North Communities to Respond to Major Disasters

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Contact: Lisa Miller

   Telephone: 907-782-7520




FAIRBANKS, April 19, 2017 — The American Red Cross of Alaska will host a Sheltering Fundamentals course and Shelter Exercise on April 22 at First Presbyterian Church, 547 7th Ave, Fairbanks, AK 99701 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to empower the community to respond in the event of a disaster.


The Red Cross of Alaska has had a record increase in response in Fairbanks and North Pole in Fiscal Year 2017- already more than doubling the number of cases opened and individuals assisted compared to Fiscal Year 2016.


Red Cross of Alaska Fairbanks/North Pole Total Cases and Individuals Assisted Fiscal Year 2016 Vs. Year-to-Date 2017

FY 2016 total cases Fairbanks: 16

FY 2016 total individuals assisted Fairbanks: 30

FY 2016 total cases North Pole: 3

FY 2016 total individuals assisted North Pole: 15


FYTD 2017 total cases Fairbanks: 33

FYTD 2017 total individuals assisted Fairbanks: 82

FYTD 2017 total cases North Pole: 6

FYTD 2017 total individuals assisted North Pole: 27


As these numbers rise, the need for community preparedness for larger scale disasters like multi-unit fires, wild fires, floods, etc. becomes prevalent.


“The American Red Cross exercises sheltering and mass care operations in order to build confidence and skills in our volunteers to assist their communities in times of crisis. In the event of a major disaster, such as a multi-unit fire or flood, that causes community members to be evacuated from their homes, Red Cross volunteers will open a public shelter to provide a place to sleep, food, and family reunification services for affected individuals. “ said Michael Verrier, Red Cross of Alaska Disaster Program Manager, Far North and Interior District.


“In Fairbanks, we are also a natural hub for villages in the interior, which may be evacuated by wildfires, floods, or other emergencies. We standby to open our doors to anyone who is experiencing disaster, and regular drills and exercises are critical in maintaining that commitment,” said Verrier.


This course and exercise is free of charge and open to anyone in the community who has an interest in working in Red Cross shelters during a major community emergency. The course will begin at 9 a.m. and run until about 12 p.m., after which the course participants will practice what they learned in the shelter drill exercise from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.


The course and exercise will cover:

·         Tasks involved with opening, operating, and closing a shelter operation.

·         Setting up, organizing, and maintaining reception, registration, feeding, and dormitory areas to ensure individual safety and comfort.

·         How to make referrals to additional services such as health or community resources, as needed.

·         Describe how to share information in a shelter and identify multiple communication strategies.

·         The steps required to return a shelter to its pre-disaster condition.


It is not necessary to RSVP to the course. For questions and details, please contact Michael Verrier at, 907-388-3369.

About the American Red Cross of Alaska:
In FY16, the American Red Cross of Alaska offered food, shelter, comfort and hope to 608 Alaskans. We responded to 200 single and multi-family house fires.  Our preparedness / Health and Safety teams installed 1,425 smoke alarms statewide and educated 2,344 youth through our Pillowcase Project. Additionally, our Service to the Armed Forces staff exchanged 796 emergency messages for U.S. military service personnel 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 , or visit us on Twitter at @redcrossak.