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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Preparing for a disaster

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A disaster is the last place anyone wants to be stuck in the middle of. Tornadoes, floods, ice storms, fires are all examples of situations that require emergency assistance, especially if people lose their homes. The American Red Cross is always there to help with people's emergency needs.

Oregon County's Red Cross coverage shifted Oct. 1 from the Capital Area Region in Jefferson City to the now 28-county region of the Greater Ozarks Area based in Springfield.

A Disaster Assist Team Training was held Oct. 8 at the United Methodist Church's Community Worship Center in Alton to train potential volunteers and to introduce old volunteers to the Greater Ozarks Chapter of the American Red Cross. About 10 people attended the training seminar.

Oregon County Red Cross volunteers help residents of the county who have suffered through the loss of their home by fire or a natural disaster, such as, a tornado.

Jackie McCracken, regional office manager, and Kathy Dennis, Greene County DAT captain and regional DAT coordinator, instructed the training seminar and gave some helpful advice to those who have been or are planning to be volunteers.

"The goal of the Red Cross is to meet immediate (basic) emergency needs," McCracken said.

The American Red Cross can provide up to three nights of lodging for $45 per night. They can also provide some money for food and clothing. The Red Cross will also work with clients and direct them to the correct facilities for medications and optical care. These benefits are available to anyone who is in need no matter what their income is or their background.

"We are a humanitarian organization, and we don't make judgements," Dennis said.

Many people are afraid of volunteering with the Red Cross because they might feel a bit anxious and uncomfortable in certain situations. McCracken and Dennis explained that there is a phone number a volunteer can call if things become too much for a person to handle, and a different volunteer can come out to the scene.

"You (the volunteers) are never going to be out there alone," Dennis said.

For more information call The Greater Ozarks Chapter office in Springfield at 417-832-9500.

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