Each of the speakers agreed it is important to have established relationships within the community before any disaster strikes. Since Hurricane Katrina, many nonprofit organizations have revamped their emergency response. The American Red Cross is no different.
Hurricane Katrina brought large scale disaster across a wide area in a short amount of time. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg area received 4,000 victims of Hurricane Katrina who stayed in the area for about two and a half weeks. Schou said its important to remember to plan for disaster during relative calm so the chaos can be organized.
Since Hurricane Katrina, the largest emergency to hit the Charlotte area occurred in 2008 when 600 houses flooded. The Red Cross sheltered 400 victims with help of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District.
Schou made sure to note its important to know what to do in a case of an emergency and that all emergencies are local. The Red Cross prepares for emergencies by conducting simulations which allow for organization during an emergency, not mass chaos.
Currently, the Red Cross plans to work with UNCC if any large scale disaster response is needed. Schou and other emergency service personnel in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Area are looking to the future and are beginning to plan for the Democratic National Convention which will be in Charlotte in 2012.