Red Cross prepares for severe weather with disaster training

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) After responding to three home fires across the Grand Strand in the past three days, the Red Cross is continuing its training to prepare for natural disasters as well as dangerous situations within the community.

The key to the success of the Red Cross being able to meet the needs of Myrtle Beach and the surrounding communities is the on-going training the volunteers participate in to enhance their skills.

The three day training started Thursday with Fundamentals of Disaster Assessment. Members reviewed the process in which the Red Cross determines the damage to an effected area.

Collaborating to ensure effective service delivery will be the focus of Friday and Saturday morning's training. Volunteers will go over the process in which the Red Cross works with community partners, government partners  and local businesses.

In a final training session Saturday night, the Red Cross members will review response to weapons of mass destruction. This is a vitally important training as the response to a WMD is different than any other disaster response.

Lou Palm, the Disaster Manager of the Red Cross said, "We have to be aware of things such as pipe bombs at schools and active school shooters. Those can have the potential to create mass fatalities and so we have to ensure our response ranges the entire spectrum from a major disaster to perhaps a chemical explosion all the way to a pipe bomb in a school."

The training will take place at the Red Cross Headquarters on Pampas Dr. in Myrtle Beach.

Some people attending the training sessions said being a volunteer has personal meaning because of being on the receiving end of the organization's efforts.

Tom Dexter said, "I was in the military and my father passed away while I was in Germany, and the Red Cross provided assistance for me to get home for his funeral."

Volunteers said the training sessions helps them to be on the same page when it is time to help the community.

Dexter added, "There are different plans in place depending on the incident. For example if a building was blown up, we would set up the perimeter and with a nuclear event that could cover a much broaded area and we would have to respond accordingly."

Palm said it takes days of training to be ready, and those who give of their time said it is time well spent.

Dexter said, "The most satisfying part is after you've helped someone and a little boy or girl gives you a hug or the parents say thank you so much when they've lost everything."

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