Sheltering exercise in Reno on April 4 simulates the real thing
RENO, NV MARCH 28, 2019—When disaster strikes, emergency response teams ramp up quickly to safeguard lives—and providing immediate shelter is often a first priority. Take wildfires, for instance. What happens when 300 homes must be evacuated on a minute’s notice? Where do people go? On Thursday, April 4, at 8:30 a.m. the Red Cross of Northern Nevada and their partners will mobilize to set up a simulated shelter at two locations: Kendyl Depoali Middle School, 9300 Wilbur May Parkway and Galena High School, 3600 Butch Cassidy Drive.
The disaster training set to occur is part of a sheltering exercise sponsored by the American Red Cross of Northern Nevada. The simulation is this: A 3,000-acre wildfire breaks out in Washoe Valley, triggered by a car overheating. Due to high winds, the fire quickly spreads and threatens 300 homes causing the forced evacuation of residents. The Truckee Meadows Fire Department is on the scene and the Washoe County Emergency Manager requests shelters be up and running at Depoli Middle School and Galena High School and ready for evacuees by 8:30 a.m. But what about the livestock? That’s where Washoe County Animal Services comes in.
Coordination is key and that’s why the Red Cross must annually test its capacity to shelter victims of natural disasters. Each exercise must demonstrate that resources are in place to house a minimum of two hundred people in two different locations. Such practice-runs are paramount to ensure success when a real disaster strikes and that’s why over 15 state and local entities provide their support for these important tactical exercises. The City of Reno, City of Sparks, State Department of Public Safety, REMSA, Washoe County Community Emergency Response Team, Salvation Army, Truckee Meadows Fire Department, Catholic Charities, and the Washoe County School District are among those teaming with the Red Cross to carry out this year’s sheltering exercise.
According to Jill Hemenway, the disaster program manager for the American Red Cross of Northern Nevada, “We are hosting this simulation to test the sheltering capacity of the Red Cross along with how the community would help support our efforts. We invited other local organizations to participate so that we would be familiar with services, points of contacts, and understand the full scope of our resources. This simulation will be a great tool for our local community.”
Along with preparedness and response comes the need to communicate sheltering needs if any state emergency were to occur. Tools such as the chapter Facebook page @UtahNVRedCross would be the best place to start for up to the minute information on sheltering locations. A variety of free mobile apps all designed to help individuals when disaster strikes may be found at www.redcross.org or by clicking here.
The community is welcome to observe this event at all of the locations. For more information contact Jill Hemenway at (775) 848-2926 or firstname.lastname@example.org.