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Originally published Monday, October 29, 2012 at 9:30 PM

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Spokane County man deployed to lead Red Cross efforts in New York

A retiree with four decades of disaster-management experience is overseeing operations at 90 emergency shelters in New York.

The Spokesman-Review

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Red Cross relief efforts in New York are being organized by an Eastern Washington Red Cross retiree pressed into service because of his nearly four decades of disaster-management experience.

Glenn Lockwood, of Elk, Spokane County, flew to New York City on Saturday, where he's overseeing operations at nearly 90 emergency shelters.

Lockwood, 65, retired in 2011 from the Red Cross, but he is frequently deployed as a volunteer to large-scale emergencies.

The shelters were established Sunday before the storm made landfall, and some 30,000 people are expected to use them.

"This storm they are saying is likely to measure up to the worst event in the last century," Lockwood said.

"I'm not sure any community can be quite prepared for this."

His workforce of more than 500 volunteers is expected to double or even triple once the storm passes.

Two emergency-management experts, one from the Seattle Fire Department and one from South King Fire & Rescue, are already in the Washington, D.C., area to help coordinate emergency operations, said Mike McCaffree, program manager of the local FEMA Urban Search & Rescue team, Washington Task Force 1.

Five more task-force members will head east as soon as commercial flights resume, he said. Three are from the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, one from Pierce County Department of Emergency Management and one from Puyallup-based Mount Rainier Emergency Physicians.

As many as 70 canine-assisted task-force members in Washington state were informed Monday evening that they will likely be needed for search-and-rescue work, McCaffree said.

The team pulls together resources from fire departments across the Puget Sound region.

About 85 percent of the dogs that work in FEMA search and rescue are owned by civilians who have had their dogs trained through organizations such as Redmond-based Northwest Disaster Search Dogs.

Hurricane Sandy delayed the aid efforts of Federal Way-based World Vision.

Monday morning, hygiene and emergency-food kits were ready to be distributed from the philanthropy's New York City warehouse, but flooding forced employees to evacuate at around 10:30 a.m. before the kits could be given out, said spokeswoman Mindy Mizell.

"We're hoping we can get back in there tomorrow to get those supplies out," said Mizell, who was barricaded in her Manhattan apartment herself.

"I'll be back in the office tomorrow trying to coordinate our team on the ground."

Seattle Times staff reporter Alexa Vaughn contributed to this story.

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