Seeking shelter: Red Cross simulation to prepare residents for disaster situation

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By Amber Coulter

Residents throughout Hardin County are encouraged to take shelter in June.

The American Red Cross has scheduled a disaster shelter simulation from 6 to 7:30 p.m. June 24 at Pritchard Community Center on South Mulberry Street in Elizabethtown.

The facility is supposed to be set up as if there was some kind of disaster and residents needed to take shelter outside their homes, with cots, refreshments and everything else that would normally be provided to displaced residents.

All community members are encouraged to attend, including children, seniors and residents with disabilities, to see how the organization is prepared to meet their needs.

The free event also is open to the local health department and area businesses.

Visitors are asked to come in acting as if they had been left without the use of their homes by a disaster.

They’ll be given paperwork they would be asked to fill out in such a situation and treated as those staying in the shelter, trying out cots and other services provided.

That will give Hardin Countians an idea of what to expect if they ever need to stay in a shelter and what they should be prepared to bring, said Colleen Stufflebeam, an AmeriCorps member who is working with the American Red Cross of disaster resiliency.

“Every season, there is some form of disaster, anywhere from natural to human,” she said.

Every home should have a preparedness kit to shelter in place with food, water and other necessities. It also should have a portable kit to take to a shelter in the event of a fire or another reason for evacuation, Stufflebeam said.

“Nothing ever happens at a convenient time,” she said.

Stufflebeam hopes the simulation will make sure residents are more ready and confident if they ever need to seek outside shelter.

“We want to make sure they know how to respond to it and that we are there for them,” she said. “The Red Cross is there for the community.”

Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or acoulter@thenewsenterprise.com.