There have been about 50 disaster declarations in Kansas since 1955, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Amid victims’ despair, the Red Cross provides hope for them to move forward.
Those at the Red Cross are striving to recruit more McPherson County volunteers to aid these families in need. A class scheduled for Monday will train individuals how to open and operate their own disaster shelter in a time of need.
The class will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday at McPherson High School.
The basic class will first cover what is needed for a shelter prior to opening. Operations will then be discussed, such as seating, dormitories, health services, communication with emergency management, registration, information and what to do if problems arise. The morning session will conclude with knowing when to close the shelter.
Attendees will then be divided into teams, given jobs, and participate in a tabletop simulation in the afternoon.
To register, contact Lisa Houltberg at 785-827-3644, extension 110.
The county has had these disaster classes in there are some disaster action teams, that can operate a shelter if the need arises.
This additional disaster shelter class, which aims to aid situations displacing 20 or more victims, will allow those separate teams to focus aid in their specialized areas. Houltberg said she is looking to expand shelter volunteers in the area, especially as tornado season approaches.
“It’s important, because we want to be prepared for anything that may happen, small or large,” she said. “Having volunteers who are trained and prepared will ultimately help the larger disaster response itself and make sure we can help the community get back up and running and help the recovery process.”
McPherson’s new Health Occupation Student Association is sponsoring the event. About 15 students will help with registration, the noon meal and day care, if needed.
Sponsor and health science teacher Andrea said this event will help them think outside the box regarding involvement in the health field. She also said it will help them learn organizational and communication skills.
“What would McPherson do if there was a tornado here or in the surrounding communities?” she said. “I always think, ‘What if it was my family? Who would be there to help me if something happened?’ I don’t think it’s possible to be over prepared.”