Red Cross Braces For Bad Weather

Severe weather threats across Mississippi had the Red Cross planning for the worst. The agency sent its disaster action team to north Mississippi and Tennessee after last week's deadly tornadoes. Tuesday's tornado warnings had leaders bracing for more severe weather.

"The quicker we can get volunteers that are trained to do what they are looking for in here, then we can get them on the road to where they need to be," said Amanda Pierini, a disaster specialist for the American Red Cross.

Last week, five Red Cross volunteers were sent those areas effected by last week's deadly tornadoes. And with the threat of more severe weather, there are even more volunteers on stand-by.

"If they are available to leave at that point they do get right back with me. They will call and say, 'Yes, I am available. Please send me where you need me,'" Pierini said.

Red Cross Director Bill Brent says right now it's too soon for the agency to shift into disaster response mode. He says preparing for tornadoes is a lot different than preparing for a hurricane.

"It really depends on the size and scope of the event. We are in a region of five states. So we typically deploy our volunteers within those five states and then, of course, if there is a need that goes beyond those five states for a catastrophic event, we would deploy them. However, typically try to send them closer to home. They know the communities better and it's just a better service that way," Brent said.

Bill Brent says when there is a threat of severe weather, leaders with the Red Cross are in constant communication with EOC directors and managers.

The Biloxi Red Cross office services Harrison, Hancock and Pearl River Counties.