Are you ready for the Red Cross? |

Are you ready for the Red Cross?

Shortly after the news broadcasts announced the Martis fire had started near Truckee, there was also an announcement that the fire was moving toward Incline Village. As it turned out that was not the case. But what if it had been? What if the fire then spread down the East or West shore toward South Lake Tahoe?

Do you know what preparations have been made for the evacuation and sheltering of residents? There are many groups at Lake Tahoe who have been training for just such an emergency. Most them are “first responders” and would be in charge of your evacuation should that become necessary. You would be told where the closest shelter is being set up. This facility would be under the direction of the American Red Cross. The shelter might start out as a reception area where you could wait for news of the fire, get a drink and snack and rest. Should it be determined that you will need to be staying overnight, the reception area would immediately become a shelter with cots and food. You would also be told of various agencies who provide additional services such as mental health, pet care, medical care and later assessment of damage, should this be the case. The shelter would plan to close as soon as possible. If it is not possible for you to return to your home, the shelter will remain open until other arrangements can be made.

All these things, and more, are part of the services provided by the Red Cross. While there are units available to the North, West and East shores from Reno and Truckee, the South shore has its own Disaster Team. This unit would begin the reception or shelter operation and could call for backup from Reno, Carson City, Gardnerville, Placerville or anywhere in the United States. Response would be within a few hours, depending on accessibility. Working with the city, several shelters could be made available.

In addition to shelters the Red Cross responds to all single fires in the Lake Basin. Housing is arranged as well as meals and clothing for immediate needs. Information is provided for continuing services as required. Working trough the fire departments, the Red Cross also provides CPR and First Aid training. They also are available to assist you in reaching family members in the military or in disaster areas. The number for this information is 1-800-540-2000.

We all know that our concern is not if, but when, this kind of disaster will hit this community. It is good to know that preparations are being made for your safety. But these things don’t just happen. There are many hours of training that go into providing you with a safe haven. It takes many volunteers as well as “first” responders. Of course, people will volunteer should they be needed, but it is better to have trained volunteers to lead the day. Would you like to be trained so that you can help if needed? The South Lake Tahoe Red Cross Disaster Team is looking for people willing to be trained for these types of emergencies. It requires about eight hours of your time training as well as CPR and First Aid classes. We currently meet at 1:30 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month at the South Lake Tahoe Senior Center, 3050 Lake Tahoe Blvd. If enough people would like to meet in the evening we will arrange for a seminar to explain what we need and what it required of you. Although we would like to have you attend the monthly meetings after your training, it is not necessary to do more than keep current through an occasional exercise. We currently have 20 active members, but would like to have additional people trained in shelter operations and/or single family response. For more information call Jackie at (530) 542-4833.

It might also be noted that these things don’t happen for free. If you wish to send a donation make the check payable to The American Red Cross and send to P.O. Box 11137, Tahoe Paradise, CA 96155. Corporate donations are also appreciated. To make an in-kind donation call the answering machine at the office (530) 542-3885. We will return your call.

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