Submitted by Cheryl Greathouse

Do you know where you will go or to whom you can turn in times of disaster?

Many of us really have no clear plan. The American Red Cross in partnership with local volunteers are working to see to it that there is a plan for us and our families.

In working toward this goal, members of the American Red Cross Parkersburg Chapter met with the First Baptist Church Disaster Shelter Response Team in Grantsville. The meeting was held Tuesday March 20 in the church fellowship hall to conduct a shelter training class. The need to provide food, shelter, and clothing to displaced members of the community is of major importance to these dedicated volunteers.

Red Cross volunteers along with chapter staff person Sharon Kesselring discussed the need to have shelters ready to use at all times, even though there is often long gaps in time between disasters. The 20 team members present were given a lesson in the use of an Emergency Response Vehicle or ERV, to deliver hot meals to people effected by disaster as well as the emergency responders in the field.

The need to have shelters available to every section of the county is of great importance to the people of Calhoun County. At this time there is no shelter agreement with any facility in the upper west fork area.

While Marvin Stemple has agreed to try to locate facilities for a shelter there will be a need for a shelter response team to assist in both acquiring an agreement and operating the shelter in times of need. Although there are shelter agreements with other facilities in the county, First Baptist Shelter is the only shelter in the county with an active response team.

It is the responsibility of everyone to be prepared to help his neighbor. Those who wish to volunteer must complete Red Cross certification. With this thought in mind please consider joining the caring members of your community by contacting Marge Gherke at 354-7346 or Helen Johnson at 354-6440. Regular meetings are held the 3rd Tuesday of each month in the First Baptist Church fellowship hall at 6 p.m., everyone is invited to attend.