American Red Cross Volunteers Train For Next Disaster

Disaster can strike in an instant and when it does, volunteer efforts are crucial. On Saturday morning the American Red Cross held disaster drills in several locations across eastern Oklahoma.

Jennifer Fair has been volunteering with the Red Cross for a year now. She and other volunteers got a chance to sharpen their skills during a disaster shelter drill.

"Even those who are experienced there are going to be things that come up. So these drills help everybody," Fair said.

The goal is for volunteers to be ready for the unexpected.

"In the middle of a disaster is not when you want to be figuring what you are going to do," said Regina Moon, CEO of the Eastern Region Red Cross.

Moon said Saturday's scenario was that a tornado hit Tulsa and about 200 families were affected. When the tornado victims, or should we say actors, arrived at the mock shelter, the volunteers worked on basic procedures such as registering and setting up cots. But they were also faced with tougher situations, requiring them to think on their feet.

"These include situations as someone arriving with a serious medical condition perhaps they are on oxygen so we activate the Medical Reserve Corps to assist and make them comfortable. Often someone will arrive with a service animal so that requires a different sort of response," Moon said.

While real life disasters are more intense and hectic than this drill, this is the only way for volunteers to practice and prepare for the worst.

"I think this is great because we have actors coming in and they have real life scenarios. So when we have to deal with those scenarios and come up with different plans that we are no ready for I mean that really helps us get our feet wet," Fair said.

Drills took place in other cities across Eastern Oklahoma including Miami, Bartlesville, Sapulpa and Poteau.

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