RHA, Red Cross prepare students

Red Cross volunteers and Residence Hall Association members readied students for emergency situations during workshops Saturday, as U.S. government officials warn the public of more possible terrorist attacks.

In workshops titled “Personal Readiness in Residence Halls,” held at six locations around campus, volunteers stressed preparing emergency kits. Sparsely attended, the sessions were held at Thurston, City, New and Strong halls and the Hall on Virginia Avenue and Eckles Library at the Mount Vernon Campus.

Jed Frei, a New Hall community director, was the only attendee at the New Hall workshop. He suggested keeping basics such as Band-Aids, infection protection materials, a cloth face mask, gloves and bottled water on hand.

Two RHA members who volunteer with the Red Cross and a D.C. Red Cross representative presented a slide show outlining how to be prepared in case of emergency with information about the University Counseling Center at the New Hall session.

“(Education) is extremely important to keep informed about bizarre unknowns like bio-terrorism,” said Barbee Barber, a Red Cross National Capital Chapter volunteer.

“Don’t use negative terminology like `don’t panic,'” said Roman Groysman, Madison Hall president and the workshop’s principle presenter.

Remaining calm, working with University Police, Community Living and Learning Center building staff and other residents and using procedural evacuation plans were some of the recommendations offered by the RHA representatives and Red Cross volunteers.

In a disaster situation, “two quarts a day of water should be consumed (a day),” said Danny Tobias, RHA treasurer and a presenter at New Hall.

“It should actually be one gallon per person: two quarts for drinking and two quarts for sanitation (like) washing hands before eating,” he said. “Also, water should be boiled if there isn’t any bottled.”

In large-scale emergencies, Metropolitan Police gives necessary information to UPD who eventually filter it to CLLC, Tobias said.

The National Capital Chapter, D.C.’s local Red Cross organization, provided information about volunteer work, outlining opportunities in disaster management areas like mass care, damage assessment, family services and health and safety services.

Mass care entails taking care of “the needs of disaster workers, providing food, shelter,” Barber said.

“It is a really cool, rewarding procedure,” Barber said. “The need for disaster volunteers is so much greater now.”

The workshops were structured to answer student questions about emergency preparedness on campus after the 15-minute slide presentations. Poor attendance hindered this goal, and organizers canceled the workshop in City Hall, said Erin McNamara, a Red Cross community outreach director.

“I think there is a demand on the campus,” Frame said. “I think the (attendance) problem was a combo of publicity and midterms.”

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