Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Many Southland Catholic parish halls and school gyms will be available for use as shelters during emergencies under an agreement announced Monday between the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and American Red Cross.

“During his recent visit to the U.S., Pope Francis asked our Catholic parishes and schools to be centers of community where people can trust and help each other,” said Bishop David G. O’Connell, auxiliary bishop of the San Gabriel Pastoral Region. “This alliance is an example of how the archdiocese is putting Pope Francis’ words into action by allowing us to better serve our communities in times of crisis.”

Los Angeles Red Cross CEO Jarrett Barrios said the agreement is the first of its kind in the country, expanding on an emergency-preparedness program the organization offers to houses of worship.

“We know that many communities turn to houses of worship for safety and support during the confusion of a disaster, as we are pleased and proud to welcome our new partners in preparedness,” Barrios said.

More than 100 students at Catholic high schools became certified in first aid and CPR over the summer thanks to an online program offered by the Red Cross and archdiocese, officials said.

Under the agreement, individual schools and parishes will decide whether to apply to serve as Red Cross shelters, according to the archdiocese.

The partnership was announced during an emergency-preparedness program at Bishop Mora Salesian High School in Boyle Heights.

— Wire reports 

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