Preparing Before Disaster Strikes

The North Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) held its first meeting Thursday to get Texoma businesses and non-profits involved in a unified plan before disaster hits the area.

Representatives from about 40 different organizations attended.

The goal is to have a plan in place, so that when disaster hits, the response can happen more quickly and easily.

Chairperson for the North Texas VOAD Gregory Shannon said it will address the growing problem of volunteers wanting to help in times of disaster, but not being able to mobilize them without a set plan.

"It may take two to three hours, sometimes I've seen it take two or three days, before that person ever gets to go out and do anything," said Shannon.

Organizations interested in joining VOAD should contact The Red Cross, Salvation Army, The United Way or the Food Bank.

Members will have to pay a $10 fee per year and a representative will have to attend quarterly meetings.

At the meetings, representatives from the organizations will provide their current disaster plans, any training their members have, and the amount of volunteers they have readily available.

"The VOAD is going to be very important also with education, training and helping with some leadership development and trying to get things arranged; so that when we come to that point, we are prepared," said Shannon. "It's not just having the people mobilized and ready, we are prepared for the action that needs to take place."

Christina Myers