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Katrina 10: Dallas Red Cross Reflects on Lessons Learned

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DALLAS — Ten years ago Thursday, Hurricane Katrina was just hours from making landfall, and the folks at the Dallas Red Cross stood at the ready.

“What we were doing on this day 10 years ago was actually deploying volunteers from here in advance of the hurricane,” said Anita Foster, Chief Communications Officer for the North Texas Red Cross.

What they couldn’t expect, though, was that the disaster would be brought home to the Metroplex.

“There were nearly 26,000 evacuees that registered with the Red Cross, just here in the Metroplex,” recounted Foster.

With that many people, the biggest challenge was trying to reconnect separated families in an age before social media.

“The most staggering thing for me when I look back at Hurricane Katrina is the revelation that we didn’t have any ability to help people connect with their families in such large numbers,” said Foster.

The Red Cross has come a very long way since then.

“Today, as a result of Katrina, 24/7 at is our Safe & Well. It’s a site that’s there where you can list yourself as safe after an emergency so your loved ones can search for you, or you can look for your loved ones.”

There were a lot of lessons learned a decade ago when Katrina changed an entire area forever.

Although it’s good to know the Red Cross is now prepared to handle a catastrophe like Katrina, let’s hope it’s never put to the test.

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