Red Cross looking for disaster volunteers

Published 7:30 am Friday, June 22, 2018

PORTSMOUTH — The American Red Cross, Ohio River Valley says it is in desperate need of Disaster Assistance Team members (DAT).

“These volunteers can provide both local and national assistance during disasters,” said Debbie Smith, community executive for the Ohio River Valley Red Cross. “Locally, DAT members respond to house fires here in our community, helping residents with shelter, food, health and mental health services.”

She said that disaster volunteers also offer assistance to police and firefighters by providing canteen services during on-going response situations. Nationally, DAT members respond to hurricanes, wildfires and other natural and manmade disasters.

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“It’s important to note, that if you choose to become a Red Cross Disaster Team member, you do not have to accept national deployment,” Smith said. “You can choose to stay here locally and help your neighbors.

The Portsmouth office of The Red Cross is hosting a free DAT training session from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on July 14. Throughout the session, volunteers will be able to take all the courses in one day to become a Disaster Assistance Team member.

Class participants will also learn what it takes to provide comfort and direct assistance to those who have been affected by a disaster, as well as learn to conduct damage assessments of affected dwellings, and learn how to initiate casework with clients. Sessions include disaster cycle services, recovery services, casework and recovery planning fundamentals, direct client assistance and psychological first aid.

There will also be a working lunch.

Active volunteers interested in attending can register for classes in Edge. New volunteers should RSVP to Bryan Smith, Disaster Program Specialist, at