Red Cross training meeting scheduled

Published 12:01 am Friday, March 2, 2012

With the ever-changing weather patterns and a recent “scare” of an unusually early hurricane season, local Red Cross officials are gearing up for shelter training for the upcoming hurricane season.

Red Cross Interim Director Don Johnson said special shelter training will be held Tues., March 6, at the Red Level Community Center.

“Basically, we have an instructor coming out from the Mobile chapter,” he said. “She is an area disaster specialist, and she will present a program on shelter regulations per Red Cross regulations.”

Johnson said the area chapter is in partnership throughout the county with shelters like the Red Level shelter to provide a safe house in case of disaster.

“We’re looking for 20-25 people to come to this class,” he said. “It’s important because people tend to be reactive instead of proactive in times of disaster. We like to have people trained to take care of the situation.

“It is predicted, by the National Weather Service, that the upcoming tropical season could include more storms of a severe nature,” Johnson said. “This is due to the warm winter weather we are experiencing. They have noted that the storm season also will probably be earlier, lengthier and more severe than normal.”

Earlier this month, storm predictors and meteorologists were closely monitoring a system of low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico.

In December, hurricane forecasters at Colorado State University predicted up to 15 named storms during the 2012 hurricane season.

According to the annual report, there is a 45 percent chance for an above-average hurricane season, and they expect seven to nine of those named storms to become hurricanes. Forecasters also predict that three to four of them could be categorized as major hurricanes with a strength category of 3 or above.

Johnson said the training is important because it trains residents in the proper way to register folks, assess them to make sure they are OK or to get them the proper medical or emotional support, if needed.

Johnson said there is no pre-registration for the event and those interested can just show up at the 5:30 p.m. meeting.

“Anyone in this area that is interested in helping evacuees in a shelter environment during times of disaster are invited to attend,” he said.