Earlier this month the Central Texas Red Cross chapter hosted twenty Red Cross volunteers and staff as well as six Travis County Amateur Radio Emergency Services team members for a disaster assessment exercise. Disaster drills help our Disaster Action Team practice responding to natural disasters, and are critical in helping our community be prepared for a variety of situations when disaster strikes.
The morning of Saturday March 2, 58 pictures of damaged homes were placed throughout the Mueller Development to act as a neighborhood affected by disaster. Five Disaster Action Teams, made up of both new and experienced volunteers, spread throughout Mueller to evaluate the “damaged” homes and report back to the ARES team at the Disaster Operations Center located at the chapter. In total, the teams completed 271 evaluations in three hours. Along with the evaluations, the teams also were tasked with six different challenges and had to determine how their team would respond and what actions they would take.
Along with evaluations, the teams also drilled in various communications scenarios with the ARES radio operators – crucial practice for communicating critical data quickly and efficiently. The three hour long drill was covered by KEYE-TV and included in the 10 pm news.
There were 11 new Disaster Action volunteers who got some great experience, both with hands on training and interaction with seasoned Disaster Action teammates. These drills are so important because they help our Red Cross volunteers be skilled and adept in responding to disasters, help strengthen our community partnerships as well as help our Central Texas community be resilient!
If you are interested in joining a Disaster Action team please give us a call at 512-928-4271. We would love to hear from you!