Omaha Public Radio News
9:16 am
Thu January 5, 2012

Red Cross responded to more than 400 regional disasters in 2011

Omaha, NE – The Heartland Chapter of the American Red Cross responded to more than 400 disasters last year.

The Nebraska/southwest Iowa Region's disaster response included opening 11 shelters and providing more than 23,000 meals to people displaced by Missouri River flooding.

But Heartland Chapter spokeswoman Danelle Schlegelmilch says it wasn't a natural disaster that was the most responded to last year. "People always think of big disasters like the flood we had on the Missouri River or tornadoes, but house fires really are our number one disaster, and they do take quite an effect on all of our volunteers, they respond 24 hours a day, every single day of the year to these fires."

Schlegelmilch says the flood was a difficult disaster to respond to because it was long-lasting and slow-moving. But she says last year's disasters taught the important of preparedness for both natural and manmade events.