In step with hurricane prep at Red Cross’ Hangar Party

Gary Webster, Phil Mollica, and Paul Bartoszewicz [Photo: Denise Ritchie]

The Coast to Heartland Chapter of the American Red Cross hosted its annual Hurricane Hangar Party last Friday evening in the Corporate Air Hangar at Vero Beach Airport to provide information about and benefit the local Red Cross educational programs and relief efforts. All programs and services offered by the Red Cross are free.

While the planes landing nearby didn’t quite generate hurricane force winds, the sounds from their engines were reminiscent of the noise from generators running in the aftermath of past hurricanes.

With hurricane season set to begin June 1 and run through Nov. 30, now is the time for everyone to prepare. The Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences has predicted five Atlantic hurricanes and 13 named storms, with two expected to strengthen into major hurricanes.

“Most people think of donating blood when they hear Red Cross,” said Brenda Doblinger, event co-chair with Glynn Tremblay. “But we don’t do blood drives in Florida. We do respond to disasters.”

The local Red Cross chapter serves more than 565,000 residents in Indian River, St. Lucie, Okeechobee and Highlands counties as a community-based, humanitarian arm of the organization, working to prevent and alleviate human suffering during emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

“A lot of people don’t understand what they have to do to prepare for hurricane season,” added Tremblay, who became involved with the Red Cross after his family was burned out of their apartment in Hartford, Conn. “I’ve gotten more from the Red Cross than I could ever give to them.”

The information provided during the free event is meant to help residents with preparations before, during and after a hurricane. Red Cross volunteers handed out information regarding hands-only CPR; pet first aid; veteran support; the Pillowcase Project, a preparedness education program for children; their free smoke detector installation program; shelter rules; safety checklists; and the American Red Cross mobile phone app.

Government representatives and local vendors were also on hand, offering information about health and senior issues, shutters and hurricane-resistant windows, roof repair and mold removal, insurance and the ham radio club, which helps with communications during emergencies.

Attendees perused more than $20,000 worth of silent-auction items, while children played games in the Kid Zone and had their photos taken. Outside on the tarmac folks could purchase refreshments – including Waldo’s famed hurricane drinks – as they listened to the music of Collins and Company and checked out an array of emergency response vehicles.

The Coast to Heartland Chapter responds almost daily to emergencies and disasters such as home fires, floods and weather-related emergencies. Volunteers help to provide shelter, food, clothing, and emotional support at no cost to those in need.

For more information, visit redcross.org/southflorida.

Photos by: Denise Ritchie
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