by William Fortune
HUERFANO — How can you tell when spring is approaching? By the number of Red Cross volunteers gathering supplies.
This may seem similar to an old joke about birds or squirrels but the readiness effort is real. As Colorado moves into spring the American Red Cross again checked emergency supplies and quick response capabilities. Inventorying and augmenting supplies like cots, blankets, and water, reviewing agreements for emergency shelters, going over emergency plans and training new team members will make the Red Cross response to an emergency move like a well-oiled machine. And, as is Colorado weather, Huerfano County volunteers opened a shelter in response to this weekend’s snow storm which left 42 stranded motorists in need of overnight sheltering.
Disaster preparation activities are happening all across the state, including Huerfano County. At the end of February, a small team of Huerfano County Red Cross volunteers began the effort at the Huerfano County Red Cross storage unit. The storage shed along with a shelter supply trailer serve as the cache of supplies that would be used in an emergency.
Dennis Hoyt, Lead Volunteer for the Huerfano County American Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT) said, “This team is the first line of support should a community emergency happen. We like to be ready for just about anything. We update training and clean up equipment just like any other response organization.”
Hoyt is concerned about the potential for wildfire activity over southern Colorado this year. “The prolonged drought and beetle kill in the forested areas makes us worry”, he said, as he looked to the sky, “especially as the thunderstorm and lightning season approaches.”
The Huerfano County Disaster Action Team consists of four members, one of which is registered nurse Barbara Trujillo. Hoyt was quick to point out that his team is too small. “We need 10 more volunteers to make sure we can get the job done,” he said. “We want to have the right people, in the right place, at the right time, with the right stuff. That’s our motto.”
The Red Cross – Southeast Colorado Branch, headquartered in Pueblo, is hoping to recruit more people to commit to the Huerfano County team. Response teams for the Red Cross are in need of volunteers to lead, supervise, and assist with logistics, sheltering, feeding, client casework, health services, and many more rewarding functions.
If you are interested or seeking more information on becoming a volunteer for the American Red Cross, please call (719)-561-2614 or go to http://www.redcross.org. The only vacancy in the Huerfano County Red Cross team is the one not filled by you.
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