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Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee Partners with the American Red Cross on Local Sheltering Initiative

October 11, 2022 (Barnstable, MA) | Following the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian on Florida’s coast, the Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee (BCREPC) has partnered with the American Red Cross to increase volunteer recruitment for emergency shelter deployment and operation when needed, in order to provide safe refuge for Cape Cod residents and visitors during severe weather events. To promote knowledge regarding shelter operation and usage during a storm event, the recruiting effort will mix shelter visitation and walk-throughs with community outreach.

Anyone interested in volunteering at a regional shelter is encouraged to take the shelter training course and invited to attend one of five upcoming regional shelter walk-through trainings. Participants will tour the shelter while learning about shelter operations and volunteer expectations. Walk-throughs will take place Saturday mornings from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM on the following dates in October, November, and December:

October 15th – Harwich Cape Cod Technical High School

October 29th – Barnstable Intermediate School

November 12th – Falmouth High School

December 3rd – Sandwich High School

December 17th – Dennis Yarmouth High School

The Red Cross aims to recruit 216 volunteers by December 1st. Volunteers must register online with the Red Cross at and participate in a 3.5-hour online training.

“With the growing threat of more severe and frequent storms, more people rely on regional shelters and the Red Cross for a warm, safe, and dry place to shelter during storms when the power goes out or homes are damaged. The need for compassionate volunteers has never been greater. The success of this campaign is reliant on our Cape Codders helping neighbors in a time of need,” states Barbara Cotton, American Red Cross Southeastern MA Executive Director.

According to Chip Reilly, Emergency Preparedness Specialist for the BCREPC, “Shelter capability is critical to emergency preparedness and ultimately community resiliency. It cannot be successfully executed without the assistance of trained volunteers, poised to respond in support of their local community when needed.”  

Barnstable County’s regional shelters are a lifeboat for those most in need. They are equipped to provide basic, short-term needs: warmth, food, running water, cots for sleeping, pet sheltering, and access to limited clinical care for those with certain medical needs. They are intended to be a means of last resort, as residents are encouraged to make alternative arrangements with family, friends, or neighbors as part of their personal or family emergency action plans.

About Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee: The Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee (BCREPC) is a coalition of emergency management, law enforcement, fire service, health care, public health, public works, EMS, military, and numerous other affiliated agencies as outlined by the Massachusetts State Emergency Response Committee (SERC). It represents the towns of Barnstable, Bourne, Brewster, Chatham, Dennis, Eastham, Falmouth, Harwich, Mashpee, Orleans, Provincetown, Sandwich, Truro, Wellfleet, and Yarmouth in Barnstable County, and the town of Nantucket in Nantucket County. The mission of the BCREPC is to harness the power of planning, cooperation, and interoperability to assist Cape Cod communities in mitigating the threat from any hazard which may require the response of multiple jurisdictions.  

ABOUT BARNSTABLE COUNTY REGIONAL GOVERNMENT OF CAPE COD Barnstable County provides exemplary government functions and services to keep our community healthy and safe, promote sustainable growth, and offer a proactive, open government that enhances the quality of life for the citizens of Barnstable County. Learn more at