American Red Cross of Mid-South

The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

A Record Month for Mid-South Disaster Response

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Disaster Action Team (DAT) Captain Lucyetta Williamson facilitated the all-hands DAT meeting.

January was a record month for the Mid-South Chapter of the American Red Cross. “Our Disaster Action Teams (DAT) responded to 103 families whose homes were damaged or destroyed by fire and provided assistance to 353 people. This ranked us the 17th chapter in the nation for Red Cross local disaster response,” said Jeana Bailley, Director of Disaster Response for the Mid-South Chapter.

Bailley was speaking at the all-hands DAT meeting that was held on the evening of Friday, February 28th. Approximately, thirty members of the team were present to share the latest news about disaster services at the Mid-South Chapter.

A highlight of the meeting was the introduction of the new five-member Disaster Action Team from Crittenden County, Arkansas. Because the Mid-South Chapter serves a diverse area spread over five different counties in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi, it has long been a goal to develop county-specific Disaster Action Teams made up of individuals who live in each county.

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The new Disaster Action Team for Crittenden County Arkansas. Left to Right: Jeana Bailley, Mid-South Director of Disaster Response, Michael Dozier, Tina Dozer, Pamela Rance, Shawn Samfaco, and Keshea Tate.

A Disaster Action Team made up of Crittenden County residents is deemed especially critical because of the vulnerable link of the Mississippi River Bridges that separate Crittenden County from the rest of the Mid-South Chapter. The new five-member team is a good start. They will soon be engaging in on-site disaster-response training and hope to persuade more members of their community to participate.

Announcements and discussion at the meeting included:

  • Additional disaster response staff and DAT captains are needed to help take the load off of our hard-working working DAT members. In addition, there is a need for a volunteer DAT administrative person to nurture, schedule, send reminders, and recognize DAT members. Persons interested in these positions should contact Jeana Bailley for more information.
  • A new version of the CAS computer system has been released. When fully implemented, this new version will allow DAT members to input information about disaster relief directly into the computer system from the field.
  • The Plough Foundation has generously funded a grant for volunteer technology equipment.
  • A tabletop leadership exercise will be held on March 22 to evaluate the Chapter’s readiness to respond to a major disaster in the metropolitan area.
  • Work is underway on planning and renovation of the new chapter headquarters building on Madison Ave. A move-in date is anticipated sometime in August or September of this year. One feature of the new building will be a dedicated area for DAT members with a separate entry.
  • All DAT members are strongly encouraged to take the new online course “Public Affairs Essentials.” The course takes about 30 minutes to complete and provides valuable information about responding to media queries by Red Cross workers in the field. Instructions for logging onto the course can be found in Volunteer Connection. Go to “My Chapter”/”Online Disaster Training” and scroll to the bottom of the page to find instructions in the section on “Public Affairs Training Opportunities”.
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DAT Captain Linda Bomes shows data that puts Memphis in the midst of “tornado alley”.

The meeting concluded with a presentation by Linda Bomes who shared her experiences in responding to the Red Cross relief effort to the tornadoes that last year destroyed much of Moore, Oklahoma. Bomes provided pointers for surviving a tornado and presented data showing that the Mid-South area is indeed part of what is known as Tornado Alley, due to the frequent occurrence of these destructive storms in this area of the country.

Story and photos by Robert W. Wallace

Story posted 3/6/2014

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This entry was posted on March 6, 2014 by in Uncategorized.

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