Thursday, September 25, 2008

Red Cross duty in Baton Rouge, LA 9.25.08

As you know, we have been trained up over the summer to help out with the American Red Cross. Well, we were called up to help yesterday. We were asked to go to Baton Rouge, Louisiana where Hurricane Gustav, a category 4 hurricane hit on September 1st. We were asked to go out to drive the ERV (Emergency Response Vehicle).

We flew out of Corpus Christi on Thursday and arrived around 5pm. We were picked up at the airport and transported to the command post - an old Wal-Mart building that the Red Cross leases out year-round for their command post (called a 'Hotspot'). It was HUGE!! Lots of people working and were very organized. Of course they looked at us like we had three heads when we said we were sent here....from Texas....(just after Hurricane Ike ripped through Galveston & Houston)!! The operations are winding down here and they're sending all of the ERV's TO Texas. So we got checked-in and talked to the ERV coordinator who said she needs people to return ERV's to their hometowns, would we be willing to take one somewhere? SURE we said! So we went in today and by the end of the day, are driving an ERV out to Fairfield, CA (just outside of San Francisco where the Jelly Belly Factory is located).

They have 2 staff shelters and 1 client shelter. We're in the staff shelter called "Broadmoor" which is a large church here in Baton Rouge. We're in the recreation room (basketball court) and there are approx 175 or so cots setup here and it's about 2/3 full of volunteers. And only 3 showers!! haha... When we arrived at the command post, we got checked in & told to come back tomorrow so we found a ride to the shelter and then another ride to dinner. The shelter is nice & clean, lots of comforts - blow up mattresses, lots of blankets (they say it gets really cold at nights), snacks, water, juices, coffee, etc.

So we're on our way to California!! Hey, didn't we just make this trip!?! We estimate it will take about 4 days for us to get there, driving approx 500 miles a day. Tonight we're just outside of Baton Rouge as we wanted to get out of town early as there are a ton of people coming in town for a big LSU game tomorrow.

So although we didn't get a chance to directly help folks that are in need...we're doing a service for the Red Cross by getting the ERV back where it's supposed to be for the next disaster! Want to read more about it? Check out this link... They have daily updates on what is going on with each of the states affected. It's pretty cool!

So we'll be on the road for the next couple days. We will update as we can!
{GMST}30|27.227|N|091|05.512|W|At the Headquarters of the American Red Cross in Baton Rouge, LA|Baton Rouge, Louisiana{GEND}


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