Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Red Cross of Central Oklahoma Hosts Disaster Boot Camp

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Red Cross of Central Oklahoma Hosts Disaster Boot Camp

Article excerpt

After Hurricane Gustav hit the Louisiana coast in August, the American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma was the host to approximately 1,600 evacuees from the storm at the former AT&T and Lucent Technologies plant in Oklahoma City.

When the Red Cross issued a public appeal for volunteers to help out, Steven Klapp of Norman was among those who responded.

"They put out a call on the news for volunteers for the Gustav shelter," Klapp said. "They said if you were interested to go to a training class that night so I went."

Klapp, who is retired, said he mainly helped at the shelter by loading luggage on the buses when the evacuees from Louisiana left to return to their homes and helping to stack up cots when people started leaving.

"I was there to see the last group off the last night," he said.

Klapp was among approximately 470 Red Cross volunteers who worked at the Gustav shelter, said Kyla Campbell, director of development and communications for the Central Oklahoma chapter.

The chapter is preparing to train a large volunteer work force with the skills necessary for disaster response and to be on standby for the next Gustav-like event.

For the training, the American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma is offering a disaster boot camp on July 11-12 at Messiah Lutheran Church, 3600 Northwest Expressway in Oklahoma City. The disaster boot camp is free and open to anyone 18 and over, Campbell said. A background check is required. Registration information is available by calling (405) 228-9546.

"Our disaster boot camp is designed to give people the tools they need to help the Red Cross respond quickly and efficiently in the wake of a disaster," said Vince Hernandez, CEO of the American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma.

On July 11, activities will include providing information about the Red Cross mission and its principles of serving all people in need, as well as the fundamentals of operating a shelter after a disaster.

"Not everyone has to work in a shelter environment," Campbell said. "There are phones to be answered. There is a wide range of things that need to be done."

On July 12, activities will include a shelter simulation - hands- on training about everything from registration to feeding to sleeping quarters. …

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