Red Cross under evaluation; fake tornado to hit

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 9, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; This morning, we&8217;ll get to see how Adams County&8217;s Red Cross chapter could respond to a tornado strike all by itself.

No, they can&8217;t see into the future, nor is there cause to hunker down in an interior hallway.

Instead, the chapter is staging a mock disaster drill today, dispatching volunteers and equipment to the location of the imaginary &8220;disaster&8221; as it would in a real emergency.

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&8220;Hurricane Katrina showed what the Red Cross can do, but this will show what the local chapter could do by itself&8221; to respond to a disaster, chapter Executive Director John Goodrich said.

In addition to being a useful exercise, the drill is something each chapter must hold &8212; and be evaluated on &8212; by Red Cross regional officials every three years in order to continue their chapter status.

The exercise allows chapter staff and volunteers to work any kinks in the process before a real disaster strikes, said J.D. Hunt, chapter solutions manager for the Red Cross&8217; Southeast region.

It also allows regional officials to see what additional equipment, manpower and training the chapter might need to better prepare for such situations.

Tuesday, regional officials arrived at the chapter office to begin drawing up charts volunteers will use today to keep track of which resources and volunteers will go where.

Thursday, the last day of their visit, those same officials will discuss the response to today&8217;s &8220;disaster&8221; with volunteers and staff to determine what can be improved.