American Red Cross Chapters Maximize WARN Use

  • ARC July 2nd, 2015 — Disaster Response Specialist Debbie Chitester is one of the American Red Cross’s front-line employees who ensure disaster response coverage from the ARC Greater Cleveland Chapter throughout Ohio’s northeastern jurisdiction, including emergency preparedness, response and volunteer training for multiple counties. There are over 800 Red Cross volunteers throughout the region, serving over 660,000 families.

    “We use W.A.R.N. specifically during disasters. We call volunteers on their availability, or for other activities based on their specialty or skills, or all volunteers when preparing for a big storm. W.A.R.N. has actually made my job 100 times easier because I know exactly when I’ve reached my staffing goals, allowing me to focus on other important tasks during an incident.”

    Debbie explains that with the W.A.R.N. system, she’s able to create groups on the fly from those people who did not respond to the first alert, preventing her from calling people she had already contacted. “From a time management perspective, W.A.R.N. is invaluable. When I can watch the number of responses build in real-time on-screen (of those people who have been contacted) I don’t have to worry about staffing the shelters. We can staff our shelters more accurately and efficiently, so it’s an incredible time-saver.”

    W.A.R.N. was used during the recent super storm in 2012, Hurricane Sandy. The system was used to staff 4 shelters in 2 shifts a day for feeding and sheltering residents directly affected by the storm. Debbie was able to better manage staffing and deployment. “We’re really pleased with the system’s performance. It’s a critical tool for preparedness and response,” said Debbie.