Red Cross Chapters across ETX participate in disaster drill - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Red Cross Chapters across ETX participate in disaster drill



Thunderstorms, wildfires and tornadoes are commonly seen across the state of Texas and the Red Cross is taking steps to make sure they are prepared for the worst.

Saturday volunteers got a glimpse of what happens during these disasters and how they need to respond.

In Tyler, volunteers were briefed on the drill before heading out into the field. In Nacogdoches, it was no different.

Volunteers made their way through a Nacogdoches neighborhood assessing damage in a mock tornado drill.

40 Red Cross chapters and 700 volunteers across Texas and Oklahoma participated in the first ever multi-state disaster drill.

 "They're joining forces to simultaneously test their ability to assess damage," said Kristy Brice, Branch Director Deep ETX, Red Cross.

 As a part of their assessment volunteers look for home damage, possible gas leaks and check the condition of the roads and trees.

"Its imperative for American Red Cross an organization responsible for bringing comfort to Mother Nature's victim is as prepared as possible," said Brice.

Volunteer Pamela Russell has seen firsthand the devastation a tornado can cause; in 2004 her parent's Henderson home was destroyed.

"When we got there you couldn't see the house you couldn't see anything, I mean pine trees had fallen over you couldn't get to the driveway," said Russell.

 Russell says volunteering has exposed her to the health and mental services the Red Cross offers to victims of natural disasters.

"It's really sad but in a way it's really good to know that the Red Cross reaches out to people like that," said Russell.

Officials say Saturday's event is a catalyst step in all Red Cross services, enhancing how they are able to serve communities when disasters strike.

"It determines how many meals need to be prepared, how many volunteers need to be activated how many rakes and shovels we need to have on hand," said Brice.

To learn how to volunteer visit

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