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American Red Cross in need of more volunteers

The American Red Cross needs 80,000 volunteers across the country to help with natural disaster relief. (Courtesy: CNN Newsource)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- The American Red Cross needs 80,000 volunteers across the country to help with natural disaster relief.

The Columbus location along East Broad Street will be open for orientation and training sessions every week through Thanksgiving.

About 40 people showed up Thursday night for an orientation session. Red Cross officials said they expect the number to grow each week.

Volunteers who are interested in deploying to other areas of the country would have to commit to staying in those areas for two weeks. There are several different requirements volunteers must meet. Volunteers must be healthy and meet certain driver's license requirements, among other things.

While volunteers prepare to help, the Ohio Emergency Management Agency is recognizing National Preparedness Month.

Ohio EMA officials said with the recent flooding in the southwestern U.S., many Ohioans are wondering what they can do to be better prepared and what steps the state has taken to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.

There was a display of the Ohio EMA's emergency preparedness and response equipment outside of its building Thursday afternoon.

"Having everybody in one building at the state of Ohio and to be able to work with key partners makes Ohio very prepared," said Sims Merick, the Executive Director of the Ohio EMA.

A safe room was on display at the event. It helps protect people from major tornadoes. There was also a display of emergency kits families should have inside their home in the event a natural disaster occurs.

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