Friday, November 20, 2009

This is Only a Drill

Volunteers quickly set up cots in the mock shelter

A tornado touches down in Des Plaines, IL and tears through a school and an area of houses. Throughout the day, Des Plaines has been managing the response and has been keeping the Red Cross informed. You as volunteers won’t know all the details but the news has reported some deaths and many injuries and many schools and houses have been damaged or destroyed.

This is the scenario our reserve volunteers were given on Saturday to start off our Disaster Drill.

The volunteers had a chance to apply their basic mass care training in a real-life situation.

We set up a mock shelter staffed with shelter managers and disaster health and mental health personnel.

Volunteers took turns playing shelter residents and Red Cross volunteers. Many of them really took on their roles as a person who has been affected by a disaster and acted scared, hurt or panicked.

Their skills were tested at our registration table and in the dormitory where they had to handle various common situations that occur in the shelter setting.
For example volunteers had to decide what to do when a media crew came into the dormitory and started taking pictures.

They also were asked to act when a resident tried to sneak her pet into the shelter.

I think that everyone in attendance got a feeling of how hectic a shelter can be and how important it is to make sure that everyone is taken care of.

The drill gave everyone a safe environment to experience working in a shelter so that they will be prepared to take action in the event of a disaster.

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