BURLINGTON (AP) - Forty communities in Vermont and New Hampshire have taken advantage of an opportunity to improve their disaster preparedness.

The Vermont and New Hampshire Upper Valley Red Cross began offering its disaster shelter initiative a year ago in response to Tropical Storm Irene.

Some 200 communities were affected by that storm, and more than a dozen were stranded for several days. Red Cross spokesman Doug Bishop said that the training is aimed at preparing communities for disasters and empowering them to act independently if needed.

So far, more than 600 volunteers from 40 towns and cities have gone through the free training to learn how to set up a temporary shelter. Participating towns also get at least $3,500 worth of supplies.


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