The Bristol Tennessee Fire Department and American Red Cross continue their ongoing partnership as both agencies strive to improve community awareness about emergency preparedness. A top priority for September and the coming months will be offering information to interested agencies and faith based organizations that might want to pursue becoming a provider of an emergency shelter. “Our goal is to ensure that meaningful efforts are expended toward educating the public and facility owners about the importance of being involved and prepared”, said Assistant Fire Chief Jack Spurgeon. “To that end, the fire department has developed a brochure for distribution entitled, “How Can Our Community Prepare”, added Spurgeon.
Following an emergency or disaster, emergency responders and government agencies may not be able to immediately answer all calls for help. Their own buildings, equipment, personnel, communications, and mobility may be severely impacted by the event and demands for assistance could overwhelm response capabilities. During the first several hours after a catastrophic event, the prevailing circumstances may mean that crisis management and survival may become each individual’s responsibility. In some cases, being prepared for a few hours may not be enough and the time frame that one may have to survive on their own could extend for as long as 10 days.
“Our nation’s emergency managers, firefighters, law enforcement officers, paramedics, EMTs, and other emergency responders do an incredible job of keeping everyone safe, but there are times when they cannot do it alone” said Spurgeon. Community based organizations, school systems, and social service advocacy agencies can all establish sheltering agreements with the American Red Cross. Bristol currently has two certified shelters that are located at Elizabeth Chapel Church and Addilynn Memorial United Methodist Church. Anyone or any group that wishes to become involved can do so by contacting the Bristol TN Fire Department or the Red Cross and ask about the Disaster Relief Shelter Program. You will be provided additional information, and should you desire, a meeting will be scheduled with a Red Cross representative.
Bristol Fire Rescue proudly promotes emergency preparedness and fire/life safety education through a myriad of programs year round. For more tips on Emergency Preparedness and Sheltering contact Assistant Chief Jack Spurgeon at (423) 989-5701.