Recently, a group of dedicated Cordovans attended 2+ days of training to help our community prepare for a disaster. The training was provided by Mary Lowery, from the American Red Cross of Alaska, for free.
As a result of those days, the community now has 14 people who have been trained to help establish shelters and assist disaster victims, should there be a catastrophic event that necessitated evacuation of Cordovan homes. Those people represented the Cordova School District, Bidarki Recreation Center, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Cordova Community Baptist Church, Cordova Volunteer Fire Department, Cordova Telephone Cooperative, Cordova Family Resource Center, and Orca Adventure Lodge. Additionally, one local Cordovan chose to become a Red Cross Representative for our community. It has been eight years since there has been a Red Cross presence in Cordova.
The American Red Cross is willing to come into any community after a disaster, as long as the community requests the help. The organization does not come in and “take over”…but, instead, comes when invited and works alongside the community. They may assist a community in running their own shelters…or …communities have the option of requesting that the Red Cross run the shelters. It is conceivable that, after a major disaster, Cordova may be isolated for days and forced to rely entirely upon ourselves. To that end, we must prepare to run the shelters ourselves….but that doesn’t mean we cannot ask for help at a later date, when the Red Cross CAN get here. Therefore, Cordova has chosen, in the city emergency operating plan, to run their shelters according to the Red Cross methods. Using their methods will provide a seamless transition from “Cordova” shelters to Red Cross” shelters. After evaluating their sheltering methods, and training for three days with the Red Cross, the decision of how to run the shelters seemed an easy one. The Red Cross method is organized, precise, and efficient.
Cordova is on the right track now. Sheltering massive numbers of displaced community members is a complicated and extensive job for any city, but the preparation has begun. New shelter workers/managers in Cordova are Wendy Armstrong, Joanie Behrends, Debbie Collins, Jason Fischer, Dick Groff, Jen Hutchings, Julie Mair, Dennis Marchant, Jim Nygaard, Melanie O’Brien, Crystal Shapleigh, Nicole Songer, Kent Thelen, and Frank Wicks. Thanks to all of you. Especially to Wendy Armstrong, our new Red Cross representative.
As always, Cordova. Be prudent. Be ready. Be prepared.