June 1 is the start of hurricane season and the local chapter of the Red Cross is making sure we're ready, so hundreds of volunteers went to work on a mock hurricane they called "Zane.”
Gale force winds barreling down on the Gulf Coast, in the heat of a hurricane it's too late to get ready for the disaster. That's why the Red Cross is preparing right now.
Chris Floyd, the Emergency Services Director of the Red Cross of the Big Bend said, “What we're doing today is a hurricane Zane experiment, opening shelters in all 8 of our counties, staffing emergency operations centers."
One hundred fifty seven volunteers are grabbing phones and plotting maps, and most importantly preparing for an influx of approximately 13,000 evacuees who would flee the high winds and head into Tallahassee. This small group would have to find a way to house all of them as well as prepare 58,000 meals with the use of a generator.
It is a monumental task, but they've seen bigger.
One year this chapter sent off 379 volunteers to disasters around the country, including the terrible terrorist attack on September 11th.
George Baragona, a Red Cross Volunteer said, “Actually I worked the Pentagon to start with then I moved to New York later. It was extremely hectic, extremely emotional, let's just say crazy."
Experience he hopes will save lives should a disaster ever strike the Big Bend. The volunteers spent at least four hours working on the mock disaster.