SUNY New Paltz Office of Emergency Management and the American Red Cross conducted a mass emergency sheltering training exercise on Aug. 5 in Elting Gymnasium.
The exercise provided the American Red Cross with a venue to train new staff on shelter operations and finalize the University’s shelter plan, with attendees from both the Hudson Valley chapter, as well as the Albany Regional chapter.
Members of New Paltz’s Institute for Disaster Mental Health and Student Affairs were also on hand to discuss how each department can collaborate more effectively during future shelter operations.
“The collective efforts of the Office of Emergency Management and the American Red Cross can undoubtedly contribute to creating a safer and more resilient community within SUNY New Paltz,” said American Red Cross Disaster Program Manager Max Sanchez.
This training was the first part in a series of exercises that SUNY New Paltz hopes to run in conjunction with the American Red Cross. The goal of the exercises is to eventually establish a “full scale” event where a mock shelter is established. Conducting the full series of exercises will continue to build relationships with nongovernmental partners, improve disaster preparedness and strength the resiliency of the campus community.
The use of campus facilities as emergency shelter spaces stems from a long-running agreement between the University and the American Red Cross. Most recently, the agreement was invoked to house Ulster County residents during the severe ice storm of February 2022.