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Red Cross Hold Mass Care Exercise in Oklahoma

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On Oct. 11 2014, three locations in Oklahoma participated in an American Red Cross Mass Care Exercise. The exercise locations were in Woodward, Wayne and Lawton. There were approximately 170 participants at the three locations. The goal of the exercise was to improve the readiness and preparedness of the communities and its volunteers. The Red Cross worked to prepare participants through various mass care activitie following a large wildfire.

The participants initiated opening and operating a shelter, coordinated feeding on site and simulated bulk distribution needs. Bulk distribution is providing cleaning supplies, rakes, gloves and trash bags. Some of the participants were assigned to be actors and were to create problems during the activities to test subject matter knowledge and problem solving techniques. The purpose of the activities were for participants to be prepared for issues such as unaccompanied minors, functional needs, evacuations, injured clients and many others. The variety of topics allowed participants to be prepared for common problems and allowed them to brainstorm and overcome those issues during a disaster.

The exercise intended to strengthen mass care leadership at local and regional levels, while involving local emergency management and other partners to strengthen external relationships. A number of partners participated and supported the exercise including emergency management, Baptist General Convention, churches, CART teams, health departments and high schools.

Overall, the Red Cross exercise provided an opportunity for the disaster workforce to develop greater internal expertise in mass care. The American Red Cross strives to provide hands-on activities to volunteers and communities in order for them to be better prepared before, during and after a disaster. For more information on how to volunteer for the Red Cross visit www.redcross.org/volunteer.