American Red Cross works to be prepared for RNC

Posted at 8:18 PM, May 20, 2016

NewsChannel 5 is making sure you know everything you need to survive the RNC.

It turns out the road to the convention isn't as smooth as you might think.

In fact, there are lots of bumps in that road in the weeks leading up to it.

That is why the American Red Cross worked tirelessly to make sure they're squared away to help folks when disaster strikes.

The main mission of the American Red Cross is to make sure people have shelter and food in the event of a disaster. That being said, most hotels are booked; some nearly at capacity for more than 30 miles outside city limits.
"Every county in our region is going to be impacted to some extent," said Tim O'Toole, Regional Disaster Officer for the NEO region of the American Red Cross.

22 counties. 4.5 million people. That is the reach of the Northeast Ohio Region of the American Red Cross.

"Essentially from Pennsylvania along the lake out to Sandusky and south to about Canton toward Stubenville," said O'toole.

With the RNC weeks away, the big question is: what to do with the people who will inevitably lose their homes?

"We're just making sure it's all set, ready to go, staged, and ready to be deployed." said O'toole.

July tends to be a busy month. In 2015, 76 families were displaced. The year before that, 97 cases were documented. It is an unpredictable month, to say the least, and we are not just talking fires.

"We do have more flooding occurrences, typically in the summer," said O'toole.

Also major storms. Historically speaking, O'toole saidm the weather can skew toward droughts as well. With hotels booked, and little availability as far as the eye can see, The American Red Cross is turning to shelters.

The shelters are tight, when it comes to space. We are talking about 80 square feet per person, but the American Red Cross is doing its part to make sure folks are comfortable, even the kids.

There is no one hard rule when it comes to assistance. Regional Disaster Officer Tim O'Toole said if a handful of people are impacted, they will offer money. If a lot of people are impacted, they will open a shelter.   

Preps are not done.

"75 to 80 percent," said O'toole.

But they are on track.

As for the shelters, The American Red Cross has shelter agreements in place throughout the community. They will not release the locations, but said they are large open spaces; places like gyms, schools or churches.

With the RNC being in July, schools are out, so folks can file in. The local chapter is in need of volunteers leading up to the RNC. They are hosting a one-day boot camp training session next month to get folks prepared. If you are interested, contact the American Red Cross at 216-431-3328.