Region 8 residents get trained as Red Cross volunteers

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) – Several cities across Region 8 are already preparing for the next disaster.  Recent flooding has encouraged some volunteers to get trained to help others.  During the flooding in Randolph County there were no Red Cross trained volunteers.

"Once the evacuations started taking place it took about three hours for the Blytheville office to get here and get set up.

That's why Shelley Proctor and other volunteers are training so they can help in an official capacity in the future.  She was one of the many volunteers who helped when the community center was transformed into a shelter.

"It was a little bit chaotic at times, but that's one of the things we're working towards.  We want to make sure that we're well prepared and everything goes smoothly," said Proctor.

American Red Cross trainer Jan Simpson works with the disaster response team.  After the flood the American Red Cross was contacted by volunteers who wanted to learn more.

"The community as a whole wants to come in and work in their own community providing the care that Red Cross gives," said Simpson.

If there is an approaching disaster and they know there are people on the ground who are already trained they can coordinate early on.

"They know the facilities that they can work in they know where all of the equipment is stored and they're just ready to start working," said Simpson.

"We will have cots here on the premises where we will be setting up shelter if there is the need," said Patricia Simington.

Simpson said the main thing she wants volunteers to understand is how to be ready.

"If we plan ahead for a disaster then we know how to respond for it," said Simpson.

Upcoming training sessions are:    
August 13th - Disaster Services: an overview at 9 a.m. in Hardy at the Methodist Church
August 20th - Shelter Operation and Shelter Simulation
August 25th – Disaster Services: an overview at 6:30 p.m. at the Paragould Methodist Church

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