NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - It comes as a coincidence that a scheduled American Red Cross shelter fundamentals workshop in Nacogdoches Tuesday happened while emergency workers were going into "shelter mode."
All of the Red Cross shelters in East Texas are essentially on "standby."
Shelter fundamentals will be fresh on the minds of Nacogdoches county and city employees in the event a shelter is opened. The preparation task has already begun by the American Red Cross Southeast and Deep East Texas Chapter.
"We've already identified shelters that we can open if we need and we have touched base with all our volunteers as to who is in town, who is available to help," said Bobby Ann Anderson, an American Red Cross trainer and volunteer.
Trinity County, located close to an already swollen Trinity River, is of particular concern.
"We have shelter trailers already in Trinity, as we do in all of our counties, but we especially made sure Trinity County is covered," Anderson said. These shelter trailers have supplies to open a shelter for up to 300 people and we could do it in just a matter of an hour or so if needed."
The six-step cycle of opening and closing a shelter was reviewed.
"It helps the cities and the counties to be able to have a source like the Red Cross, a resource to turn to," Tommy Wheeler, Nacogdoches County's environmental health services director.
As the shelter workshop went on Tuesday Bill was blowing in.
Inside the reinforced building the sound of a passing thunderstorm was definitely noticed.
"You know this is the safest place to be in Nacogdoches County," Anderson said. "This building was built to withstand anything."
Just one preparation that enables Anderson and other trained individuals to remain calm in the midst of a storm.
"I'm OK because I know that we are prepared," Anderson said. "We have dispersed our supplies and our assets throughout the territory, and we just kinda wait for the storm to pass and see where we're needed."
The best outcome for Red Cross is never to get that call of distress.
City, county, and American Red Cross workers stand prepared. They remind citizens to do the same.