By Patrick Jason Rodriguez
The chairman of the Local Emergency Planning Committee wants the Red Cross to have a resposnse center in Socorro.
Doug May made his proposal to the city council at its meeting on Monday night.
He said that the city is under prepared for any sort of catastrophic event like an earthquake, huge fire and a great deal of flooding, and gave examples of past local disasters such as the tire fire of 2000, the hail storm of 2006, and the derailment last year of a train traveling through the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge when three cars carrying fuel oil spilled.
May stressed the need for shelters in the city and said his committee is working on being able to find lodging for those who must evacuate from their homes in case of floods or other emergencies. He also said that he recently took part in a shelter management class.
Volunteers who are trained and administered by the Red Cross would provide much needed assistance for Socorro, according to May. He said that some of their training would be conducted locally but that a bulk of it would take place in Albuquerque. He also mentioned that the city, county, New Mexico Tech and other local businesses should be accommodating to volunteers and trainers.
May said that shelter management survey teams would visit shelter sites and evaluate capacity, make agreements with local business owners, and ensure that structures are free from damage, including the section of Interstate 25 that flows through the Socorro.
The Red Cross doesn’t need a formal endorsement from the city to launch these services, said May, “but I think it would be helpful if the city council passed a resolution, encouraging cooperation, to send a good message.”
Mayor Ravi Bhasker asked May if he had any conversations with other emergency planners in other towns comparable in population of Socorro that already have Red Cross teams, and whether May planned to make the same presentation to the county, the schools and New Mexico Tech. May replied that Truth or Consequences was the only city with a similar size in the state that offered these services.
Mayor Bhasker then brought up the question of whether or not the Red Cross team would duplicate emergency response services already offered by the city and the county.
May said that the Red Cross team would not duplicate services but rather would actually supplement existing local government agencies.