Red Cross Kicks Off Disaster Volunteer Recruitment Campaign
Area Volunteers Needed for Local Disaster Response Assignments
BETHEL, CONN., March 27, 2012 — The American Red Cross is kicking off a month-long disaster volunteer recruitment campaign in the Greater Danbury/Bethel and New Milford area. “Our goal is to recruit and train 25 new disaster volunteers by the end of April.” said Natalie Dos Santos, senior director of emergency services. “We are looking for all types of disaster volunteers – individuals, young adults, retirees – anyone with the interest and a little bit of time.” As the largest humanitarian organization in the United States, the Red Cross depends on volunteers to accomplish the organization’s mission: providing relief to disaster clients and helping people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.
Dos Santos said no special skills are required to volunteer. “The Red Cross will train you and you will have opportunities to build your skills with additional training and exercises.” Dos Santos added that there are many roles for disaster volunteers. “Roles include working with families to provide Red Cross assistance, as well as activities in damage assessment, communications, shelter operations, staffing, preparedness, Mental Health, Health Services and more. There are a range of time and skill levels available to accommodate almost any calendar or interest.”
Anyone interested in becoming a Red Cross disaster volunteer is invited to attend a special workshop on April 21, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Bethel. The free workshop will provide new volunteers information on the impact of disasters, how communities respond, the role of the Red Cross and how the local Disaster Action Team assists disaster client. There is no charge for the training but pre-registration is required.
To register, email Theresa.Addison@CTredcross.org. In the subject line of your email, type “April 21 Disaster Workshop Registration.” Be sure to provide your complete name, street address and phone number in the message. If you are not available for this session but are interested in volunteering, you can request information on future volunteer orientation sessions to the same address.
Each year Red Cross volunteers respond to more than 70,000 disasters — fires, floods, winter storms, hurricanes, hazardous material spills or transportation accidents. Some are large in scale, but most are single family residential fires. In Connecticut the Red Cross responds to approximately 500 disasters each year.
“All this takes a great number of trained volunteers,” Dos Santos said. “It takes approximately 15 volunteers per day just to run a single shelter. After a large disaster like a hurricane we might be supporting several shelters at the same time.” Regardless of the size of the disaster, Dos Santos said, “when neighbors are in need, American Red Cross volunteers are there.”
To nominate a 2012 hero, click here.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.