LaGRANGE — The Central Midwest Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross will conduct its annual shelter drill 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Saturday at Mountain View Baptist Church, 2569 Jeff Davis Road in Thomaston.
“In addition to the risk of tornadoes, straight-line winds, winter storms and other severe weather we face, we also need to prepare for hurricanes,” said Jessica McFadden, disaster program manager with the Central Midwest Georgia Chapter. “Hurricanes can directly affect our service area with heavy rains, lightning, strong winds and flash floods, but they can also bring thousands of evacuees to Georgia.”
As part of a coordinated hurricane response effort, Georgia has pledged to shelter up to 50,000 evacuees across 50 counties for five days. The American Red Cross partners with state and local agencies during emergencies and manages disaster relief shelters.
“Our chapter will be called upon to host approximately 1,800 evacuees, so the Red Cross needs community volunteers from across our 20-county service area to help answer the call to give them safe refuge,” explained McFadden. “This shelter drill gives Red Cross volunteers and our community partners an opportunity to experience a full mock shelter in a learning environment.”
Volunteers will get a practical review of shelter management following a major local disaster by converting an empty gymnasium into a fully functioning shelter. The shelter simulation is designed as a “hands-on” exercise to sharpen participants’ readiness to survey, plan, open, manage and close a shelter.
They will set up cots, learn how to prepare meals and be oriented to the Red Cross’ Emergency Response Vehicle. Additionally, volunteers will draw upon their training to find solutions for dealing with commonly confronted shelter situations.
Red Cross volunteers, businesses, faith-based organizations, civic and military groups, social and academic clubs, and other organizations are encouraged to participate. No prior experience is necessary. Participants must be at least 18 years old and may bring interested family, friends and colleagues. Lunch will be provided.
The Central Midwest Georgia Chapter serves Baldwin, Bibb, Butts, Carroll, Coweta, Haralson, Heard, Houston, Jasper, Jones, Lamar, Meriwether, Monroe, Pike, Putnam, Spalding, Troup, Twiggs, Upson and Wilkinson counties.
More information is available at www.redcross.org to learn about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.
From a press release submitted by the Central Midwest Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross