Emergency Preparedness Planning Committee briefed by American Red Cross
The Emergency Preparedness Planning Committee of the Big Park Council received a briefing from the American Red Cross at their meeting on August the 5th. The guest presenters from the agency were Mel Miller and Dave Curtis.
Mel began emphasizing that the ARC is not a government agency and is completely funded by donors, grants and the like. Mel stated their Mission: “The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.”
He noted five areas of focus:
• Disaster cycle services means to “Prepare-Respond-Recover.” Emphasis is placed on communication, education, and home fire safety as part of “Prepare.”
• Blood Services (drives)
• Service to the Armed Forces (Armed forces assistance)
• International services
• Preparedness and education (CPR, Lifeguard, Emergency)
The ARC has a local Disaster reaction/Action Teams (DAT) who in the event of an emergency offer health services, mental, and even spiritual support as needed. ARC works directly with the people (client) impacted by the emergency. The goal after an incident is to put clients back as close to their pre-disaster conditions as possible. Caseworkers assist with recovery efforts.
For major disasters such as wildfire and flooding, the ARC will provide shelter and food. They partner with other relief agencies such as the Salvation Army and First Baptist Church to deliver food to clients in disaster areas who may be without power for long periods of time. The request to the ARC to open a shelter comes from local Emergency Management, and in the case of a fire in our area, the request would come from the Sedona Fire District (SFD) to the Yavapai County Office of Emergency Management (YCOEM) who will then activate the ARC.
The ARC has regular meetings with their network of response partners to maintain communication and relationships. They keep in touch with community churches, healthcare providers, foodbanks, etc. The ARC also maintains shelter trailers which are preloaded and kept fresh so that they can be prepared to open a shelter within two hours or less for an emergency. In our area, there is a trailer in Prescott and another in Flagstaff. The choice of a shelter location varies depending upon the situation and the YCOEM will advise on the location of the shelter.
For evacuees with pets, Dave Curtis noted that only service animals are permitted in the shelter, and they partner with groups such as LASAR who will set up a small animal shelter near the ARC shelter so that owners can visit and care for their pets.
All of ARC services are aligned with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and NIMS (National Incident Management System) standards.
Their advice was to be what they call “Red Cross Ready: Get a Kit – Make a Plan – Stay Informed.
Get A Kit: 5 P’s of preparedness:
• People & pet supplies
• Papers (Important records)
• Personal Needs
• Priceless Items
Make A Plan:
• How to get out
• Which roads
• Which exits
• Plan where to stay
• Plan/know what you need to take with you
Go to Ready.gov/kit for more information
Go to the YCSO website and sign up for CODE RED
ARC is always in need of volunteers. If interested in serving, go to redcross.org/volunteer.