It’s halfway through summer, but the threat of dangerous storms for our area is still very real.
That’s one of the reasons the Georgia Three Rivers Chapter of the American Red Cross will conduct its annual shelter drill at the Coweta County Parks & Recreation Center in Newnan this weekend.
“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 Georgia Three Rivers 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 ten-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 our 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 (ERV). 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 drill will be from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. this Saturday in the multi- purpose room at the Coweta County Parks and Recreation Center off Hospital road. To RSVP or for more information, contact Jessica McFadden at 706-884-5818 or Jessica.McFadden@RedCross.org