Red Cross Chapters across ETX participate in disaster drill

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Thunderstorms, wildfires and tornadoesare commonly seen across the state of Texas and the Red Cross is taking stepsto make sure they are prepared for the worst.

Saturday volunteers got a glimpse ofwhat happens during these disasters and how they need to respond.

In Tyler, volunteers werebriefed on the drill before heading out into the field. In Nacogdoches, it wasno different.

Volunteers made their way through aNacogdoches neighborhood assessing damage in a mock tornado drill.

40 Red Cross chapters and 700volunteers across Texas and Oklahoma participated in the first ever multi-statedisaster drill.

"They're joining forces to simultaneouslytest their ability to assess damage," said Kristy Brice, Branch DirectorDeep ETX, Red Cross.

As a part of their assessment volunteers lookfor home damage, possible gas leaks and check the condition of the roads andtrees.

"Its imperative for American RedCross an organization responsible for bringing comfort to Mother Nature's victimis as prepared as possible," said Brice.

Volunteer Pamela Russell has seenfirsthand the devastation a tornado can cause; in 2004 her parent's Hendersonhome was destroyed.

"When we got there you couldn'tsee the house you couldn't see anything, I mean pine trees had fallen over you couldn'tget to the driveway," said Russell.

Russell says volunteering has exposed her tothe health and mental services the Red Cross offers to victims of naturaldisasters.

"It's really sad but in a way it'sreally good to know that the Red Cross reaches out to people like that,"said Russell.

Officials say Saturday's event is acatalyst step in all Red Cross services, enhancing how they are able to servecommunities when disasters strike.

"It determines how many mealsneed to be prepared, how many volunteers need to be activated how many rakesand shovels we need to have on hand," said Brice.

To learn how to volunteer visit