The American Red Cross Western Pennsylvania Region held a Disaster Institute on the campus of Slippery Rock University from Friday, May 19, through Sunday, May 21, 2017. Over 130 Red Cross volunteers from across twenty-eight Western Pennsylvania counties participated in the event that is part of the Red Cross’ Prepare Western PA Initiative.
“The Red Cross Prepare Western PA Initiative strives to strengthen our disaster response systems and capacity, engage and empower additional dedicated volunteers, and build community resilience through disaster preparedness outreach,” noted Dan Tobin, American Red Cross Western Pennsylvania Region Director of Marketing and Communications. “By using this Disaster Institute to train volunteers in these critical disaster relief skills, we are building more resilient communities that are better equipped to respond should a large-scale disaster or emergency situation strike our area.”
Courses in sheltering, disaster assessment, and mass care and feeding were held, as well as other courses designed to prepare participants to deploy to other areas of the country when needed following national disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes.
“The Red Cross relies on volunteers to deliver our services and render assistance,” Tobin stated. “A well-trained corps enables us to not only handle local situations such as home fires and floods, but also allows us to help our neighbors across the country whenever the need arises. I guarantee you, if you volunteer with the Red Cross, you will get so much more out of the experience than you can possibly give. It’s very rewarding.”
There are many volunteer roles people can hold, from frontline disaster relief positions, to public affairs, blood drive ambassadors, and various office-related roles. Interested individuals should visit redcross.org/volunteer to see a list of current opportunities in their community.