Red Cross, EMA offering emergency shelter training

August 25, 2023

Published by eruiz

When Hurricanes Irma and Matthew were bearing down on the East and Gulf Coasts, hundreds of people evacuated to Macon-Bibb County. When local apartments and hotels flooded after heavy rains, residents had to evacuate until the waters receded and it was safe for them to return.  

To safely house them in their time of need, the American Red Cross of Georgia worked with Macon-Bibb’s Emergency Management Agency (EMA), Recreation Department, and North Central Health District to open several public shelters. Hundreds of volunteers and employees stepped up to help people in their time of need, from staffing the shelters to providing supplies to delivering meals to reconnecting families and more. 

Now, the Red Cross and EMA are offering two training courses that will allow people to join in these efforts and help people in time of need. The two courses are the same, and they will complete part of the coursework required by the Red Cross to become a shelter volunteer.  

Anyone is welcome to attend, but registration is required. You can do so by clicking here. (Walk-ins will be welcome if there is space in the room.) 

 September 12 * 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 

HR Training Room * City Hall, 1st Floor 

Registration Link 


Wednesday, September 20 * 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. 

Commission Chambers * City Hall, 2nd Floor 

Registration Link   

“We rely very heavily on our amazing volunteers to make sure people have a safe place to go during sheltering operations, making it imperative that they have the training they need ahead of time,” says E.J. Bess with the American Red Cross. “When a shelter is needed, it’s needed within a few days and sometimes within a few hours, so we have to be ready at all times to step forward to help.” 

“Responding to a disaster takes a whole community,” says EMA Director Spencer Hawkins. “This is your opportunity to be part of that response community by learning how shelter operations work during disasters and learning how to help during a very difficult and stressful time.”  

During the course, people will learn:  

  • Philosophy and principles of sheltering;  
  • How to identify client needs;  
  • How a shelter is structured and operates;  
  • Activities and tasks which need to take place in a shelter; 
  • Understand the types of work shelter workers do and how to do it. 

About the American Red Cross
 The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross. 

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