By Jennifer Fisher American Red Cross contributor
On Sunday, February 5, all eyes will be on Houston, as over one million fans join in the festivities of Super Bowl LI 2017 at NRG Stadium.
The event, which lasts a little over a week, will include multiple venues and significantly increase Houston’s population. The Houston-area American Red Cross has made strategic preparations and are ready to respond to a large disaster or mass casualty incident.
In the event of a large-scale crisis or disaster, the Red Cross is prepared to provide immediate assistance and deploy aid to Super Bowl fans in the safest and most efficient way possible. In anticipation of the event, Red Cross volunteers and staff have made extensive preparations, stocking emergency vehicles with necessary supplies and creating a ‘game plan’ that offers varying services and aid to those who are in need.
In the event of a disaster, Red Cross staff and volunteers will coordinate resources to provide water and snacks to participants, as well as other social services including Disaster Mental Health, Spiritual Care, and the Safe and Well Family Reunification service. The Red Cross Safe and Well service is a way for people affected by a disaster to enter information regarding their welfare so family and friends can check their status. The Red Cross is also prepared to provide more extensive sheltering and feeding to clients in the event that such services are needed.
For this landmark event, the Houston-area Red Cross is also equipped to assist such agencies as the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), Texas Highway Patrol (THP), Texas Rangers, Criminal Investigative Division (CID), Tactical Aircraft Operations, Regulatory Services Division (RSD), Communications, Victims and Employee Support Services, Intelligence and Counterterrorism (ICT), Crime analysis, SWAT and the Region 2 SRT.
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Volunteers constitute about 90 percent of the American Red Cross workforce. Volunteers make it possible to respond to nearly 70,000 disasters every year, most of them home and apartment fires. Our Disaster Action Team (DAT) provides food, shelter and comfort to families affected by major disasters such as fire, hurricanes and floods. To find out about the needs in your area and become a DAT responder click here.