BLANCO COUNTY DISASTER RESPONSE GROUP (BCDRG)
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RECENT ARTICLES REGARDING BCDRG
06-26-08, Article in Johnson City Newspaper: "Disaster Training Draws Central Texas Responders", by George Barnette
Students came from as far away as Eagle Pass for the disaster training given Saturday at the Johnson City First United Methodist Church. The subject was "Spiritual and Emotional Care" -- how to help survivors get through the emotional trauma of a disaster -- but the skills will be applicable not only in large incidents but in lesser, everyday crises such as house fires, job loss or a death in the family.
"It sounds like a religious course, and in some ways it is," said Pastor Sid Spiller of the First UMC, "but it other ways it isn't. Psychological and emotional trauma are as real as physical injuries, and just as common after disasters. We need to be as ready to help with those as the EMS is ready to help a person with a broken arm."
A big way to help is to show survivors that there's a pattern of emotional response after an incident: a quick dip of shock, a short-lived resurgence of confidence, and then a long descent toward depression as it becomes evident recovery isn't going to come quickly. "Just being able to see on the chart where they are and to realize that everyone else is moving along the same emotional path is tremendously helpful to survivors," explained instructor Mary Gaudreau, of Guthrie, Okla. "How fast someone moves along that path is different from person to person. How deep that second dip is and how quickly they climb back up varies, too, but we know we can help people through it better and faster."
"We also know there are typical ways children and teenagers react to incidents, so we teach signs and signals to watch for, and things parents can do to help a child recover from the shock of an incident."
Gaudreau came to Johnson City for the United Methodist Committee on Relief, UMCOR, the denomination's international disaster relief agency. In addition to sending experts, supplies and cash to disaster areas from Missouri to Myanmar, UMCOR provides training to churches and local organizations like the Blanco County Disaster Response Group.
The Blanco County group and local Methodist church were original hosts for the training, but it quickly grew to something much larger.
The class became basic training for a spiritual and emotional care team for the South West Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, covering hundreds of churches from the Rio Grande Valley to Central Texas, and from near Houston to Big Bend.
"This group will be the core of a Spiritual and Emotional Care Team", according to Gene Hileman of San Antonio, disaster response coordinator for the conference. "We'll recruit and train more members, and call on them to help survivors of disasters anywhere in this part of Texas...and maybe beyond."
Hileman said he has scheduled another "basic training" class for San Antonio in October.
Members of the Blanco County Disaster Response Group who took the training will continue to sharpen and expand their skills so they also can help their neighbors here at home when needed.
The Blanco County group's next training will be an all-day class in first aid, CPR, CPR for infants and children, and the use of AEDs, taught by the American Red Cross and held on Saturday, July 19th.
For information on the local disaster group, first aid-CPR class, or spiritual and emotional care training, call JoAnn Routh at 830-868-7414.
Lending a new meaning to "sack lunch", participants in Saturday's disaster training had to prepare their own lunches of typical "disaster-shelter meals" -- in this case, freeze-dried beef stroganoff with chocolate-strawberry crunch for dessert. Here, UMCOR instructor Mary Gaudreau, of Guthrie, Okla, center, pours cold water into Margery Hall-Marshall's dessert pouch, while Gene Hileman seals a pouch to let his main course simmer. The Blanco County Disaster Response Group, which sponsored the training session, hopes to raise enough money to stock the shelf-stable meals to feed local shelter "guests" after a tornado or flash flood. The student judgement on the meals, by the way, ranged from "Not bad" to "Can I have seconds?".
05-03-08, " Local Volunteers Prepare for Health Emergencies", by George Barnette
Blanco County is hit by some fast-moving disease...or terrorists release anthrax again, this time in San Antonio, threatening to spread north...or maybe it's just a bad flu season. If we have to immunize every resident of the county in a short time, who's going to do it?
Neither the state nor the county has the manpower for that job, but the Blanco County Disaster Response Group has 15 newly-trained volunteers who could go to work right away. "Those incidents would quickly overwhelm the public health personnel," said Jacque Hagerty, training specialist for the Texas Department of State Health Services. "We'd be scrambling for manpower who could go to work right away." Hagerty gave the volunteers a crash course in mass immunization or distribution of medication Saturday morning at the Johnson City First United Methodist Church. She said the federal resources could fly 50 tons of equipment and medicine into the area in 12 hours, enough for 300,000 people, and Blanco County's share would be separated out and delivered here a few hours later. Once here, a central dispensary -- perhaps a couple of them -- would be opened to residents.
The central dispensary is called a Point of Dispensing -- a POD -- structured to suit the exact need. "How the POD would work, what we would give people, and who would get it all depend on the nature and size of the problem," Hagerty said, "so our volunteers need to know several processes and be prepared to be flexible in how we respond to the community's need."
It would take an extreme situation for local volunteers to be put to work actually giving shots or handing pills, but that's not impossible. More likely would be helping neighbors fill out paperwork and routing them through the POD system.
Hagerty said it would take about two dozen volunteers to open a POD for Blanco County, so the 15 trainees aren't enough to fill the need, even assuming they'd all be available when called. And the demand for manpower could run up to almost 200 for a full-scale push. "We don't have that pool of volunteers in Blanco County now," said Hagerty, "but we have more than we did on Friday, and we certainly can come back and train more."
The next step in preparing the POD team is for the local volunteers to scout for more resources, both medical professionals and non- professionals, and begin filling in the blanks in the organization so we'll be ready when we need a quick response to a health emergency here at home.
To join the Blanco County Disaster Response Group
or volunteer for the POD team, contact JoAnn Routh at 868-7414.
At the time Lt. Lynn Hicks of the Blanco Volunteer Fire Department was scheduled to begin a presentation on wildfires to the Blanco County Disaster Response Group Saturday morning, he was nowhere to be found. The group waiting at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Blanco could hardly complain; Hicks had arrived early to set up his projector, but almost immediately was called away...to a fire! "It was only a small grass fire along US 281," Hicks explained later, "probably caused by a spark from a passing vehicle or a carelessly tossed cigarette, but it could have turned into something much bigger and more dangerous in a hurry."
It was the meeting's second fire loss. A second speaker, from the Texas Forest Service, already had been pulled out to the State Operations Center in Austin to help fight the hundreds of wildfires statewide. Once back from the local emergency, Hicks explained how and why wildfires are so dangerous in rural areas just now, and what can be done about them.
"Wildfires are driven by three things," he said, "fuel, weather and topography -- the lay of the land. And right now, all three elements are working against us in Blanco County." Fuel is the grass, leaves and wood that a fire consumes. Last year's heavy rains left us plenty of it, and the drought which followed made sure all of it is now dry and ready to burn. Part of that is due to weather, and weather is still fire-hostile with no rain to return moisture to tinder-dry wood and grass. Also part of weather are the low humidity that further dries the fuel, and the high winds that make any fire take off and race across the countryside.
The countryside itself is not the firefighter's friend, either. Water
is scarce in this part of Texas, and hills are plentiful. "A fire blowing
across a flat pasture can move fast," Hicks explained, "but a fire moving
up a hill goes even faster, because the heat rising ahead of it dries the
fuel upslope and makes it even more ready to burst into flame." Add to
that the man-made obstacles firefighters encounter -- long, narrow lanes;
long stretches of fence with no gate; large areas of uncut grass and brush
-- and it's easy to see how a fire can get ahead and stay ahead of
Hicks recommended that citizens not try to fight wildfires themselves, but to leave that to trained pros. If the homeowner feels compelled to fight the fire, though, do it from the rear. Fighting a moving fire from the front means it's chasing you, and sometimes the fire wins. Fighting it from the rear means it and its heat and smoke are going away from you. If the wind shifts and the fire turns, you're in the blackened area where there's not much left to burn.
What else can a resident do to protect himself against fires? Hicks' advice was simple: "Don't start one." "Be careful with fire or anything that can start a fire at any time, and in weather and fuel conditions like these, don't burn anything outdoors for any reason."
The meeting was hosted by the Blanco County Disaster Response Group.
The group's next meeting,
Saturday, March 8, will be a full day of American Red Cross training in
how to set up and run an emergency shelter. For information, call JoAnn
Routh at 868-7414 or check this web site or www.fumcjctx.org/Disaster%20Response.htm.
The good news about Blanco County and the bird flu is, it might not hit for a long time, maybe never, and if it does, there are things you can do to give yourself and your family some protection. The bad news is, if it isn't the current bird flu, it'll be something else, and when it comes, a severe flu epidemic will sicken thousands of Blanco County residents. And there's no way to stop it. That was the bottom line of a pandemic flu presentation Saturday to the Blanco County Disaster Response Group at the First United Methodist Church in Johnson City. Presenters came from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department (A/TCHHS), and the Capitol Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG).
"The worst-case scenario would be a repeat of the Spanish Flu of 1918," said Linda Cox, of the A/TCHHS in Austin. "Worldwide, 50 million people -- about two percent of the world population -- died, including almost 700,000 Americans. It was the worst pandemic in history." We've had two other flu pandemics since then, Cox added. The Asian Flu in 1957, only a moderate pandemic, killed 70,000 Americans; the Hong Kong Flu, which killed 34,000 in 1968, was considered mild. "The threat of a new strain of flu breaking out and sweeping the world is always there," explained Cox, "because the flu virus is constantly evolving into slightly new forms. One doesn't break out often, and when it does, it usually isn't a severe form. Many don't affect humans at all."
What worries health authorities is a virus so different no one has any immunity to it. In a highly contagious form, it would sweep around the world in weeks. The first wave would last two or three months. Six months later would come a second "echo" wave of cases. By the time it was over, almost a third of the population would have had it. A mild virus might just make them all sick. A strong one would kill millions. With a highly contagious form, 3,000 Blanco County residents could catch the flu. As many as 400 would be sick enough to go to a hospital, but we don't have a hospital, and those in surrounding counties will be full of the most extreme cases. In a normal year, 95 people in this county die of all causes. A severe flu would more than double that number.
"Living in a rural county is both good and bad," said Carol Davis, of the DSHS Region 7 office in Temple. "On one hand, a disease might take a little longer to get here because we're isolated, and our scattered population would keep people separated and less likely to pass it around. "On the other hand, if a disease gets into the local population, the closeness of our society means it would spread more completely. And that closeness means the sick and the dead will be people we know."
How would we cope? Without medical facilities, the sick would have to be isolated at home, perhaps by law, and treated there. The caregivers, who are exposed to the disease, would be quarantined at home with them. Public gatherings -- school, church, perhaps even business -- would be prohibited. Absenteeism would be as high as 50%, crippling the services we depend on, like groceries, utilities and emergency services. Dorothy Dawson, of Marble Falls, is the DSHS Public Health Nurse for Blanco and several other counties.
"We're already planning our response to such an emergency," Dawson said, "and getting information out into the community about ways you can protect yourself and your family." Flu spreads through airborne droplets from a sneeze or cough, she said, so covering your mouth is the first step. In a pandemic, wearing a mask over your mouth and nose will help protect against those who don't cover their coughs and sneezes. "The number one preventive is hand-washing," Dawson explained. "We don't wash our hands often enough or well enough normally. In a flu pandemic, that will have to change. The alcohol-based hand cleaners are good, but nothing beats plain old soap and water for effectiveness."
Although we're likely to have a few weeks' notice from the time a severe flu virus begins to spread, Dawson said we should start now putting aside a little extra supply of flu medications that keep well. Aspirin or ibuprofen are cheap and have a long shelf life. So do cough drops and syrups, and other over-the-counter products. Make sure you have a thermometer and tissues. "Those will disappear off the store shelves fast when the flu does begin to spread. You can use that time to stock up on foods that will keep through the two or three months of the flu's first wave," Dawson advised.
Robin Wiatrek, of CAPCOG in Austin, said the local governments in the area already are planning how they'll deal with a flu pandemic or any other health emergency. "If the emergency is local, we'll send in what resources we can from outside," she said. "If everyone has the same problem, though, each county and city will have to rely on its own preparations." That means relying heavily on volunteers, such as the Blanco County Disaster Response Group. The workload will quickly overwhelm state and local governments, which will be further reduced by that 50% absentee rate.
It also means going through the pandemic without a flu vaccine. A flu vaccine takes about six months to prepare, and by the time it's ready -- even in small quantities -- the pandemic would be winding down. "The best thing we can do right now," Wiatrek said, "is to educate people so they'll know what to do when it happens. "Because we know that sooner or later it will happen."
To learn more about pandemic flu or the Blanco County Disaster Response Group, check this web site.
11-11-07, " Is Johnson City's Emergency Shelter Ready for a Disaster? Sorta", by George Barnette
The Blanco County Disaster Response Group put itself to the test Saturday, to see whether Johnson City's emergency shelter is ready for action if a local disaster strikes.
So is it ready? Yes...and no. The group found the shelter -- and the disaster response group members who will staff it -- are ready for some of the emergencies that are likely to require an emergency shelter to open in the north end of the county. Yes, local residents would have a place to go to wait out high water from flash floods or to keep warm waiting for power to be restored after an ice storm. Those would require only light support for shelter guests during a short-term stay. But no, it would be a stretch to say we're completely prepared for 100 area residents to take up temporary residence in the Activities Building of the Johnson City First United Methodist Church after a tornado or hurricane. "Could we handle that kind of need? Maybe...but we know 'maybe' isn't good enough when people are counting on you to deliver in a disaster," said Shelter Manager George Cofran. "But we also know 'maybe' is better than 'no', which is the answer we'd have had a year ago."
The Disaster Response Group members discussed the shelter plan in the Saturday morning meeting, then tested their own ability to set up a registration process with smooth crowd flow, and a safe and secure dormitory area where guests would stay overnight. "Some parts went more smoothly than others," said Pastor Judy Baskin. "Setting up the sleeping area didn't take long because we don't have many cots and air mattresses yet. We hope that job gets more complicated as more bedding is donated. "Setting up the registration area wasn't as easy, because we discovered the tables and people didn't fit the area the way we had thought it would. We're already re-thinking that, and will make the necessary changes, so if we ever have to use it for real, the work will flow better."
Finding such problems was, after all, the purpose of the test. The detailed shelter plan was worked out in the six months since the group organized and the city's shelter was certified by the American Red Cross. But a plan that hasn't been tested -- as the group realized -- isn't worth the paper it's printed on.
The time to discover some part of the plan doesn't work is now, when there's no emergency, Cofran said. Not when the water is rising and power lines are down and people are knocking on the door.
The Blanco County Disaster Response Group has about 60 members, and welcomes new members from Blanco and surrounding counties. After a holiday break, group meetings will resume in January with a presentation on flu, and the H5N1 Asian bird flu, and the effects on this county if a flu pandemic swept the world.
For more information and a look at the shelter plan (a work in progress), check this web site. To join, call JoAnn Routh at 868-7414.
10-14-07, "Local Responders Learn to Save Lives", by George Barnette
Some of your neighbors gave up their sunny Saturday to learn how to save your life. They spent the day in a series of American Red Cross courses which taught them how (and when) to perform Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), apply first aid, and use Automatic Electronic Defibrillators (AEDs). The class was held in the Fellowship Hall of the Blanco United Methodist Church. The students learned from videos, lectures and demonstrations, but then had to prove their skills and knowledge with their own tests and hands-on exercises with responsive dummies. The Red Cross manikins -- both adults and children -- made for a very realistic test of physical skills. "One lesson is that CPR is only used on dead people," said instructor George Cofran of Johnson City. "It keeps blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs until the professionals arrive with the ambulance. If the victim is alive -- with a working heart and lungs -- he doesn't need CPR; only people who are already dead need CPR." Another was that AEDs are brain-savers. When a heart stops pumping, brain cells begin dying immediately...about 10% of the total brain dies every minute. After six minutes, recovery is unlikely. But if someone can start CPR right away to keep the blood flowing, an AED may be able to shock the heart back to a natural rhythm and save the brain from further damage.
The course was sponsored by the Blanco County Disaster Response Group because putting more people out in the community with that knowledge and those skills mean your chances of surviving an accident or sudden illness go up sharply. We think of disasters as major "headline" events, but to the victim, her heart attack is the biggest disaster in the world. The Group's next training, in November, will be expanding volunteers skills in setting up and operating an emergency shelter for people -- local or distant -- put out of their homes temporarily by disaster.
Anyone interested in joining the Disaster Response Group and learning to help neighbors in need can do so by calling JoAnn Routh at the First United Methodist Church in Johnson City at 868-7414.08-12-07, "Local Volunteers Learn to Deliver Quick Help After Disasters", by George Barnette
Members of the Blanco County Disaster Response Group went to Kerrville last week to learn how to deliver quick help to neighbors whose homes are affected by disasters. The training, conducted by the United Methodist Church, teaches volunteers how to help residents make their homes safe, sanitary and secure in the days after a storm or flood. Jobs include removing soggy carpet, patching the roof and clearing debris from the yard. "I'm a pretty handy guy with tools, "said Larry Martin of Blanco, "but they still taught me some things about disaster work that I hadn't thought of, like the right and wrong ways to tarp a hole in the roof." Graduates of the course now are being assembled into Early Response Teams (ERTs), so they can be called to action within days of a disaster, such as the floods in Central Texas this summer. Other teams from around the area responded to those calls; now Blanco County is in a position to return the favor. The six-person teams will be alerted as soon as a disaster happens, and as soon as the emergency phase of the work is ended, they'll roll in to do their part. Their part is not making permanent repairs, because that work has to wait until after federal and insurance damage assessments are finished. "What we'll do is stabilize the structure so the damage doesn't get worse, and make it safe for the residents to work in it -- even live in it -- while they're awaiting the damage assessors," said Johnson City's Bunny Johnson. "For the family trying to figure out what to do first, these teams make all the difference. By pitching in with real hands-on help, they turn the family's despair into hope, and set them -- mentally and physically -- on the road to recovery." ERT is one of several disaster response skills Response Group members are learning in this year's program. They've already learned to open and run an American Red Cross shelter and to help with Texas Interagency Interfaith Disaster Response's information phone bank.
This fall, they expect to go through training for ham radio operation, relief casework, and emergency medical care. For more information about joining the Disaster Response Group, contact JoAnn Routh at 868-7414.07-30-07, "Blanco County Group Preps for Next Disaster", by George Barnette:
The Blanco County Disaster Response Group has concluded almost all its work following the Burnet County floods and has turned to preparation for the next one -- whatever and wherever it may be.
Amy BeVille Elder, Executive Director of Texas Interagency Interfaith Disaster Response (TIDR) in Austin, met with the group to explain how the two organizations might encounter one another in a disaster response, and how they could cooperate.
Elder said a major TIDR service is as a clearing house and phone bank, connecting people who need resources in a disaster with people who have resources to give. If Blanco County is hit, our group could call on many support agencies through TIDR. In reverse, TIDR can call on Blanco County's volunteers when they are needed elsewhere.
The county group is now preparing its fall series, which may include:
- Partnering with ham radio operators for emergency communication, and helping volunteers get their ham licenses to expand the pool of radio operators.
- Working with animal-oriented partners to learn to open and run an emergency pet shelter when we have to open our people shelter for evacuees.
- Training as caseworkers to go into an area right after an incident and begin processing people applying for assistance to get aid moving to them faster.
- American Red Cross medical training, such as first aid, CPR and AEDs (defibrillators) not only to let us provide better help in disasters but to be a community resource every day.
Area residents interested in joining or working with the Blanco County Disaster Response Group may contact JoAnn Routh at 868-7414 or George Barnette at 868-0808.
07-05-07, "Blanco County Disaster Response Team Responds to flooding in the Hill Country", by George Barnette:
Their first activity was opening the First United Methodist Church of Johnson City as an informal emergency shelter at the request of the Blanco County Sheriff's Department Wednesday morning. It wasn't because of any evacuation in the county, but the department was concerned about drivers being blocked by high water, and needing a place to go while waiting for the water to recede. Pastor Judy Baskin and JoAnn Routh opened the building and put on the coffee, but happily no one needed the shelter and they were able to close it by noon.
The team was on the telephone to contacts in the flooded communities while the torrential rains were still falling. By the end of the day Wednesday, planning was already under way to send assistance as soon as the water level fell. On Thursday, team members were in Marble Falls and Granite Shoals, examining the damage first-hand and lining up resources and volunteers.
Thursday afternoon, with heavy rains developing over Gillespie County, the team was alerted by the American Red Cross' Hill Country Chapter to be prepared to open the Johnson City church as an official Red Cross emergency shelter in case people needed to be evacuated to the city. Team members were prepared, but luckily the feared floods didn't materialize, and the team was able to stand down.
The first volunteers were on duty Friday morning in Granite Shoals: a team assigned to answer the phones in the Grace United Methodist Church, which was designated by the city as the flood relief information contact point. The three-person telephone team was Joy Feuge, Elizabeth Sooter and Diane Beagle, all from Johnson City.
Saturday morning, more than three dozen volunteers hit the streets of Granite Shoals to canvass the flood area for the city and report back on where they found flood damage and what assistance residents needed. In addition too local volunteers from Granite Shoals and Marble Falls, walkers came from Blanco, Wimberley, Round Rock and San Antonio. Johnson City team members included JoAnn Routh, Larry Martin, Nell Wimbish, Bill Swiss, Bunny Johnson, Judy Baskin and George Barnette. By the end of the day, the volunteers had produced a complete report on the city's flood aftermath for the mayor to use in applying for aid from state and federal authorities. They also had taken up a quick food collection for a family they found who had lost all their food in the water and had absolutely nothing to put on the table.
The same data was used over the weekend by the team's planners in setting up activity for this week. The floods had interrupted the summer children's feeding program at Grace UMC, and the Mobile Loaves and Fishes project in Austin volunteered to come out and pick up the responsibility of feeding not only the children but also hungry adults still trying to dry out their kitchens.
Meanwhile, Jean and Bob Anderson of Johnson City spent their day answering the phones in the Grace UMC office. They provided the city's flood survivors a contact point for information about where and how to get assistance. One they helped was the pastor of Grace Church, Rev Cheri Brewster, who had flood water in her own home.
The group also arranged for some of the United Methodist Church's Early Response Teams from San Antonio and Austin begin work Monday morning, helping residents get started drying out and cleaning up their homes. Those teams are trained in quick intervention to keep damage from getting worse, and to help disaster survivors focus on recovery.
As Marble Falls got a handle on its needs Monday, the team began planning what assistance it could provide there and how to deliver it.
Residents interested in helping or in joining the team to prepare for the next disaster can contact JoAnn Routh in the 1st UMC office in Johnson City, at 830-868-0808.
05-19-07, "Johnson City Emergency Shelter Is Ready For Action", by George Barnette:
Veteran Red Cross shelter manager Jean Krohn, of Fredericksburg, taught the local group the ins and outs of emergency shelters, lessons she has learned in decades of disaster relief work in Texas and elsewhere. "As shelter managers, you will be taking ownership of these people," she said. "They are the same as guests in your home. They need the same things from you a guest would have, and you need to treat them as if they were guests." That includes providing the obvious -- like a place to sleep and meals and help getting in touch with friends and relatives who may have scattered to other shelters. But it also includes things we might not think of, Krohn explained. "We need to know how we're going to find a change of underwear for people who had to flee their homes with only the clothes on their backs. Where people on prescription medicines can get them refilled. How we're going to find fresh diapers in the middle of the night. The more of those things we think of in advance, the better prepared we'll be when it happens. "But," Krohn added, "they're still going to surprise us with needs and problems. We need to plan to be surprised, too."
Although Johnson City's response in this first class was a strong one (ours was an unusually large turnout), more volunteers -- and more community resources -- will be needed to make the shelter successful, and there are many needs which will have to be thought of and met in advance. "Over the next months, we'll be looking for partners in the community who can help provide goods and services when we need them for shelter residents," said George Cofran, one of the project organizers and himself a veteran Red Cross shelter manager. "There's a lot more that goes into an emergency shelter than just a building and volunteers. Those are the big things, but we'll need a lot more, too." And more volunteers.
The group already is starting to plan for another shelter operations class in the fall, and more extensive training for volunteers so they can assist in other aspects of emergency incidents. JoAnn Routh, in the church office, already is gathering names of people interested in the next class. "The people of Blanco County have a rare opportunity to become a valuable resource in emergencies of all kinds, from hurricane and fire to flu pandemic and terrorist attack," Pastor Baskin concluded. "We know they want to help. We just have to provide a way for them to do that. "And it's a lucky thing the interest is community-wide, because we sure can't do it all by ourselves."
Members of the Red Cross emergency shelter training class learned how to set one up quickly when needed, and how to care for large numbers of people put out of their homes by a disaster. The group learned some lessons that were obvious -- such as assuring guests a safe, secure place to sleep -- and some we might not think of -- like finding a way to keep guests in clean clothes when they didn't bring much with them.
Left to right are class members Bill Swiss, Bob Anderson, Darryl Weisenbaugh, Mickey Little, Tom Hardy, Jeanne Hardy, Bonnie Jenschke, Betty McNallen, and Jerry Martin.
Jean Krohn of Fredericksburg, a veteran Red Cross volunteer, led the emergency shelter operations class at Johnson City's First United Methodist Church. She not only taught the official course material, but also was able to add examples from her own decades of experience managing shelters in disasters all over Texas and the US, including the massive efforts following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita two years ago. Her main point: the people we welcome into our shelter are having the worst day of their lives, and our job is to do what we can to relieve some of their stress and pain.
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