Preparing for Tropical Storms, Hurricanes

A potential tropical system entering the Gulf of Mexico this weekend is a reminder to be prepared in the event of a hurricane.

The American Red Cross is usually one of the first agencies on the scene to a disaster. It's also preparing and is in need of volunteers.

Volunteers can work behind a desk or be out in the field helping victims.

The Red Cross prepares itself in two ways, materials needed to respond and volunteers who do the responding.

"We do feel like we're prepared," said Gordon Stewart, readiness and response manager. "We do have a lot of volunteers. Particularly, they're in leadership roles. However, we do need more volunteers in the event we go into response mode."

Since the Red Cross responds to everything from a house fire to hurricanes and tornadoes, there are just as many roles for volunteers when a disaster happens. In order to volunteer with the Red Cross though, you must be trained.

"There's always a big need for volunteers, but they need the training so that they will know what to do, how to respond when we do go out on a disaster," said Donna Harrison, disaster service coordinator. "And we can volunteer either locally, or we can volunteer all over the United States, or even all over the world."

The Red Cross also wants you to be prepared to weather any disaster.

"Make sure that they have their disaster kit ready," said Stewart. "They have enough food and water for at least three days, essential medications to last 7 days, extra cash on hand, gas up their vehicles, and take care of any other needs they might have in an emergency situation."

Also in your emergency supply kit, if you have pets, you are going to want to remember their supplies as well. And take along a camera to take photos of any damage that may happen to your property.

You can help out the victims of future disasters like hurricanes, in this area, by donating to the local chapter of the Red Cross. For more information, call 601-485-5151.

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