Preparing for a disaster - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Preparing for a disaster

Area residents who want to help victims during a fire or tornado, can receive free training this week.

The Texas Panhandle Chapter's Red Cross says the demand for volunteers is always present. They're doing a push for more volunteers given September is National Preparedness Month.

Volunteer Mary Lou Farnum says, "I have deployed to disasters in Colorado, Mississippi, here in Texas. And the joy of volunteering is when you get a chance to give back to your community. And you get to the results, the immediate results of your helping hand. It makes you feel like your contributing to life."

Field Specialist Martha Riddlespurger says, "The problem with disaster services is that when something happens, many people want to come in, and help. But they're not trained, and so they don't really know what to do. It's not exciting to prepare, it's exciting to respond. And so we need people who are prepared first, and then be able to respond."

There are volunteers like Farnum, who has helped out for many years. She says, "When you go out in the middle of the night, where the weather is bad, and someone's house is burning to the ground in front of your very eyes. Giving them the immediate help that they need so that they can be safe some place, have a change of clothes, have some food. Those kinds of things remind you how delicate life is ."

The Red Cross says they can never have too many volunteers. They need more in the counties they cover so that it doesn't take a volunteer two hours to get to a fire.

Riddlespurger says, "It's a very important job because people are so frightened when something like that happens. And they can't think what to do next. They're not sure what's going to happen in their lives. And so we try to help them get through those first few hours when things are so confusing and so scary."

The Texas Panhandle Red Cross is holding an open house and giving free disaster training for volunteers Saturday. They can learn how to respond and use equipment properly. Registration is not necessary for the training.


Texas Panhandle Red Cross Volunteer Rally & Training

* 1800 S. Harrison St., Amarillo

Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012

* Open House 9am - 12pm

* Class 12:30pm - 2:30pm

For more information:

(806) 376-6309


Jessica Abuchaibe, NewsChannel 10.

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