The American Red Cross is doing some special training this weekend. The focus is on Shelter Operations, which are essential for northwest Louisiana in the event of disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and fires.

The class will teach volunteers what goes into setting up, operating and breaking down a shelter. Trainers will also discuss the different systems that must be in place for a shelter to open and the types of supplies needed to operate effectively.

Individuals working at a disaster shelter can volunteer any time of the day or night, since shelters are run 24 hours a day until they're no longer needed. On a daily basis, the ratio of volunteers to staff is about 85 to one. During disasters, though, that ratio jumps as high as 99 to one, especially for our local Red Cross chapter.

If you want to get in on the training, it's free...but you're asked to register in advance by emailing anne.antoniou@redcross.org, or calling Anne at (318) 865-9545. Shelter Operations runs from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday, October 19th, at the Red Cross office on Brook Hollow Drive in Shreveport.