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Red Cross Preps For Tornado Season

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LAWTON, Okla_Tornados can bring devastating destruction in the blink of an eye, and as we all know Southwest Oklahoma is not immune to one of Mother Nature's most powerful disasters.

The Red Cross works tirelessly year round to bring safety and comfort to those affected by disaster, and as we near tornado season they have to ask themselves, "are we ready for the big one?".

As an answer to their question they spent hours on Saturday in a Lawton neighborhood simulating a tornado and practicing how to assess the damage.

"You know it's March now so we do have that possibility of tornados coming in. And so we just want our work force to be able to be confident to go out there and know hey, I've trained on this so I'll know what to do when I get out there in the field and that disaster's really happened, " said Rosalyn Hall, the Disasters Relief Specialist for Southwest Oklahoma Red Crosses.

Placards were placed in yards of homes all over Sullivan Village describing the types of damage the tornado caused and even any injuries or fatalities that may have occurred.

"With a tornado it's hit or miss, and that's definitely how we have the exercise going. You know that some homes have been destroyed, some of them have major damage, " said Hall.

Other homes had light or no damage at all. From these descriptions they assessed how dire the situation was for each individual home.

Through their assessments they decide if a home is safe enough for a family to move back in, or if they need to open up extra shelters or even supply neighborhoods with food and water.

The assessment is vital to how quickly the appropriate aid can be provided.

"The damage assessment we say that it drives the bus. Because we can't do anything until we have that done, " Hall said.

As they walked through the neighborhood some home owners were curious about their damage, and the volunteers assured them the Red Cross is here to help.

"In an event big like this you know yes we're helping a lot of families. But to know that the Red Cross is always there and somebody's always on call 24 hours a day, " Hall explained.

Volunteers felt the exercise was a success.

They left with a sense of confidence and reassurance that if damage like this did come our way, they'll be ready to help.

"We're ready and we can take care of the people here in Southwest Oklahoma. Because they take care of us through their donations and everything that they do for the Red Cross, so we want to be there. They're our neighbors, " Hall said.

 

 

 

Saturday's training experience was a first for the Southwest Oklahoma chapters of the Red Cross. They had about 16 volunteers combing through the neighborhood, and said this hands on experience will be vital to their abilities in real life situations.

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