Hundreds attend Red Cross disaster training to prepare to help Houston

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Hundreds of prospective volunteers attended training sessions at the American Red Cross office in Midtown Tuesday.

Some of the training was as simple as learning how to take instructive geographical directions. But trainees knew it could turn in to life-saving work by people like Eva Coleman.

“We had to get our directions down as far as where to send help," Coleman said. "How many cases of water were needed? How much food is needed?"

Coleman was one of many volunteers who echoed a similar selfless sentiment.

“The need is great and they need help so we should all step in and help out," she said.

Red Cross Mid-South executive director Laura Vaughn says her organization is in this for the long haul.

"We'll be in Texas for months to come," she said.

Inevitably, they’ll need new volunteers to go down. These trainees will now be on the list.

If they want to help out, they have to commit a minimum of two weeks.

Many said they use vacation time or are retired like Shirley Matthews.

"It’s the least I can do. If everybody would just pitch in and help everybody else. This world is so much chaos right now. We need to come together," Matthews said.

If you're interested in training, call 901-726-1690 or visit

Red Cross officials said they have shelters set up in Memphis for potential Houston evacuees or in case flash flooding victims need a place to go at the end of this week, when Harvey is forecasted to hit Memphis.

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