Shelters to need volunteers

Published 10:33 pm Monday, May 22, 2006

Escambia County agencies hope to improve coordination among hurricane shelters - and attract more trained volunteers to man them - as hurricane season approaches.
During their monthly meeting in Brewton, members of the Coalition for a Healthier Escambia County - made up of agencies from across the county - discussed hurricane preparation and safety Saturday.
Martin emphasized the need for volunteers to man local shelters this year.
A mass training for volunteers will be held at five sites throughout Alabama in coming weeks, Martin said, including training in Mobile on June 2. Red Cross will release details about the time and place of the training this week, Martin said.
Jefferson Davis Community College will serve as a shelter this year, according to the state's new hurricane preparation plan.
JDCC President Dr. Susan McBride said the state has not yet shared all of its information about the plan with community colleges.
McBride said the colleges will cooperate with any plan the state has, although there is some concern about using JDCC as a shelter for storms above Category 3. The college likely won't know until shortly before a storm hits whether it will be opened as a shelter, McBride said.
The governor will make that call, according to the state's emergency management plan, Martin said.
Housing evacuees from Florida and Alabama is not the only task emergency management officials will have to deal with during a storm, coalition members said.
Chad Kent of the Alabama Department of Public Health said the county needs better coordination among its shelters. During previous hurricanes, schools have been used as shelters, while some churches have also opened their doors to evacuees and residents fleeing the wind and rain.
Department of Human Resources Director Lynn Barnes said coordination is what has been missing in previous storms.
Martin said area churches will always want to open their doors during a hurricane.
New Escambia County Emergency Management Director David Adams said the county has planned a meeting this Thursday to discuss hurricane preparations and coordination among agencies.

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