When a large disaster strikes, like the 2008 Picher tornado and 2007 ice storm, the Red Cross is ready to set up shelters, distribute large numbers of meals, and make sure that our neighbors are safe and secure.

Recent disasters have taught us that many shelters may need to be opened over a wide area. That is why the Red Cross has a special training called Ready When the Time Comes.

The benefit of the program is that volunteers donít have to commit time regularly for local volunteer work. However, if a large disaster happens, these people already will have a background check on file and will have basic training to operate a shelter.

Ready When the Time Comes targets churches and other community groups in small towns to have a group of 10 or more trained as Red Cross volunteers. These trained people will be ready to set up a shelter in case of a large disaster. Training lasts approximately three hours and includes Red Cross principles and procedures, basic disaster response, and a basic CPR class.

Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Parish of Miami will be hosting this important training from 1-4 p.m. Jan. 18. Please contact the church office if you are interested in attending this training.

If you and your friends would like to find out more about this, or any other Red Cross, program contact Rebecca Maloney at (918) 542-5072, by phone or email, rmaloney@arctac.org or Linda Tucker at (918) 831-1167, by phone, or email, ltucker@arctac.org.