On September 23, more than 200 people attended the 2014 American Red Cross Emergency Preparedness Academy, held at the Sheraton Clayton Plaza.
The annual Academy helps businesses, schools and organizations develop and refine their emergency plans.
This year, preparedness experts addressed an array of topics during the day-long summit sponsored by Anheuser-Busch.
“The attendees at Academy walked away with the skills they need to develop a plan—so that if an emergency or disaster happens tomorrow, they will be ready,” said Cindy Erickson, Regional CEO of the Red Cross. “Whether it is a tiny church or a major corporation, they are joining the Red Cross in creating a more resilient community.”
The American Red Cross recognized outstanding members of the preparedness community, with the Red Cross Community Preparedness and Resiliency Award.
The awards are given to businesses, schools, organizations or individuals who have made significant contributions to building community resiliency. These award winners have increased the ability of our community to “bounce back” after a disaster. This is done by improving the physical, psychological, social, or economic capacity to withstand, quickly adapt and successfully recover from a disaster. Our goal is to help communities recover quickly and completely.
Chief Frank Arnoldy of the Crestwood Police Department is a key emergency management and preparedness official in our region. Chief Arnoldy worked his way up to Emergency Management Director, from Dispatcher. Chief Arnoldy developed many preparedness programs for Crestwood, including the Crestwood CERT - or Community Emergency Response Team. Since then, he has been a major figure in CERT planning in St. Louis County and throughout the region. His willingness to “get involved” combined with his excellent leadership skills also make him a valued asset to St. Louis Area Regional Response System, STARRS. Chief Arnoldy serves on two STARRS committees: the Community Preparedness committee and the STARRS Training and Exercise committee. As Manager of the St. Louis Regional Incident Support Team, he has responded to numerous disasters across Missouri.
Reverend Bill Engfehr, a Red Cross volunteer since Hurricane Katrina, is an Emergency Services Chaplain for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Last year, he responded to the New Minden, Illinois, tornadoes and the twin tornadoes in Nebraska. He is active in Disaster Response and Crisis Intervention Pastoral Ministry in the St. Louis area and is certified by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation in Critical Incident Debrief. Reverend Engfehr also serves as an interim pastor at the Zion Lutheran Church in Litchfield, Illinois.
Ed Hoke is an Illinois minister known as a “leader” when disaster strikes. He not only steps up to aid members of his congregation, but anyone affected by disasters across the area. As a member of Illinois VOAD – Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster— he coordinated support to the Southern Illinois town of Brookport following devastating tornadoes last November. He made sure that state and national VOAD agencies worked together to meet community needs. Ed also represents the Illinois VOAD in preparedness and response planning with emergency management agencies for a New Madrid Seismic Zone event. He has been responding to disasters since Hurricane Hugo hit the East Coast in 1988. Always the first to offer to help, Ed’s efforts have shaped long-term recovery committees in Southern Illinois and have helped to build stronger, more resilient communities.
John Pyron served as the statewide Director of the Missouri Disaster Case Management Program from May 2011 to October 2013. John, with the rest of his staff at Lutheran Family and Children Services, worked to build a structured, statistical, long- term recovery program for those affected by major natural disasters. His program was successfully employed after the Joplin Tornado, the St. Louis ‘Good Friday’ Tornado and floods in Southeast and South-central Missouri. He established service areas in multiple regions, expanded established networks, hired staff, and trained and implemented new programming. John strengthened the capacity of various non-profit organizations to handle future disasters and offered quality recovery services to survivors. No doubt, John has increased the ability of our communities to 'bounce back' after a storm—and has motivated others to learn for the 'next time' around.
Academy participants also examined the latest products to make workplaces, schools, homes or community buildings better equipped for disasters.
To view the 2014 Academy photos, click here.
To view presentations from the 2014 Academy, choose a title below, and click: