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Md. Red Cross Shows Off Disaster Equipment

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Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Every day, the American Red Cross is called out for some disaster.

Now, as Mike Schuh reports, the local chapter showed off to its donors just how prepared they are.

The Red Cross responds to 70,000 disasters a year.  Few are as extreme as the Joplin tornadoes.  Most are personal disasters, like house fires.

“This is not a long-term thing,” said Doug Lent, American Red Cross.  “Just to get everything up and running.”

The Maryland chapter brought out their equipment to show they’ll go to anything, big or small.

“What we want to show people today is that the Red Cross is ready,” Lent said.

For instance, Saturday, they were testing out the mobile kitchen.  With the help of a Baptist group, a thousand meals a day go to shelters and donors to the Red Cross.  And this is a small operation.

“Well, this is a type A kitchen.  We can scale up to 5,000 meals at a time,” said Jim Goreley, volunteer.

Not all of this equipment is for a national disaster.  One truck, for instance, was at the flooding in Dundalk and the tornado in East Baltimore.  Local people for local disasters.  But many of them have been to big events, too.

“I was in a town hit by an F-3 tornado,” Lent said.

“I served for six weeks on Hurricane Ike,” Goreley said.

And even they marvel at how well people who have never met pitch in and get the job done.

“There are a lot of partners—not just the Red Cross, state or Baptists—it’s a combination of people helping people,” Goreley said.

The Maryland chapter is one of 650 nationwide.  There are over a million volunteers who donate time to the Red Cross each year.

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