Red Cross offering disaster training classes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Hundreds of American Red Cross workers have been dispatched to areas throughout the South and Midwest after tornadoes ripped through those regions in the past week.

On Wednesday, area residents have a chance to help out others in times of need.

The Mower County chapter of the American Red Cross will conduct an introduction to disaster class from 6 to 8 p.m. May 21 at the chapter's Austin office. There is no cost and registration is limited to the first 15 people.

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Elaine Hansen, the chapter's executive director, said taking the course is the first step for those who would like to help out across the country, or even locally, when disaster strikes.

"It gives them an introduction how the Red Cross approaches Red Cross disaster relief, Hansen said. "There's 23 different functions we perform and if people are trained, they can be ready to go. The idea behind having the training is that people are going all over the country, helping them recover the tornadoes. When we had flooding here, they came from California, Colorado and all other places. It kind of all gets everybody on the same page so we can move forward."

Hansen said the Red Cross currently has disaster relief operations in 12 states and more than 1,000 volunteers helping people recover from various catastrophes that have struck their regions.

"In some areas, it's going to take months to rebuild and help these people resume a normal life," Hansen said.

Dan Fields can be reached at 434-2230 or by e-mail at