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American Red Cross of Central Texas Exercises Hurricane Drill

AUSTIN, TEXAS, August 1, 2013 – With hurricane season upon us and recent tropical storms threatening to make landfall, the American Red Cross of Central Texas continues to prepare for the real possibility of a hurricane in the Gulf. Because of a point-to-point evacuation agreement with the city of Galveston, our region must prepare to shelter an estimated 25,000 evacuees in the event of a hurricane. Drills are an essential component of the Red Cross’ ability to stay prepared for such an event, as they empower Red Cross workers to put their skills to the test in real-life scenarios and mobilize the power of volunteers when needed.

WHAT: Volunteer Resource Center (VRC) Drill

In the event of a hurricane evacuation, local emergency management and the Red Cross will activate the Capital Area Shelter Hub Plan (CASHP). Many members of our community may want to help out and volunteer—but these spontaneous volunteers will need training before they can be of service in a shelter. The VRC will be run by the Red Cross and will serve as the destination for spontaneous volunteers to receive the training they need and step into action as a Red Cross shelter worker in just a few short hours.

WHO: American Red Cross of Central Texas, with support from its community partners:

  • Austin Disaster Relief Network
  • Jewish Community Center
  • United Way for Greater Austin
  • Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs)
  • WHY: It takes the effort of our entire community to prepare for disaster, alleviate suffering in an emergency and be resilient during the recovery process. Thursday’s VRC Drill will allow the Red Cross to ensure that when the time comes, the Red Cross team of staff, volunteers and community partners is ready to train a large quantity of spontaneous volunteers to fill much-needed shelter staff positions.

    WHEN: Thursday, August 8, 2013, 9:00am – 5:00pm

    WHERE: Northwest Recreation Center, 2913 Northland Drive, Austin, TX 78757

    MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES: Red Cross spokesperson available for interview; photo/video opportunities of uniformed Red Cross volunteers and community partners performing drill exercises; American Red Cross disaster preparedness B-roll.

    Key Facts:

    - A recent survey by the American Red Cross and The Weather Channel shows nearly two in three residents along the Gulf Coast are concerned that they are in harm’s way from a hurricane or flood, the highest concern among four coastal regions in the country. In fact, more than four in five (81 percent) of Gulf Coast county respondents said their family had been part of a hurricane, by far the highest percentage in the four regions.

    - More than one in three (36 percent) of Gulf Coast respondents say they live in an area likely to flood in a hurricane or heavy rain, the highest percentage in the four regions.

    - Superstorm Sandy’s destruction and devastation – the largest U.S. disaster in the past five years – was a motivation for greater preparedness this hurricane season. While Superstorm Sandy raised awareness of the need to prepare, overall the survey reveals little evidence that people in any of the coastal areas have actually taken the necessary steps, even as forecasters are predicting a busy 2013 hurricane season. Despite having the highest level of concern about being in harm’s way from a hurricane or flood, the poll shows that only about one in five coastal residents in the Gulf Coast has taken more steps to prepare since Sandy.

    - In the event of a hurricane in the Gulf Coast region, the Capital Area Shelter Hub Plan (CASHP) is designed to activate shelters for an estimated 25,000 evacuees from the Galveston area as part of a point-to-point evacuation agreement.

    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 or join our blog at