The American Red Cross Northeastern New York Region has announced a need for additional volunteers, specifically in Rensselaer County, to help respond to local disasters. The Red Cross will hold a series of open house recruitment events in the county this week. Anyone interested in learning more about disaster volunteer opportunities with the Red Cross is encouraged to attend one of the following sessions:
Tuesday, September 23 - 5:00 P.M. and 7:00 P.M. (two sessions)
Rensselaer County Training Classroom 1
North Greenbush Town Hall
2 Douglas Street
Wynantskill, NY 12198
Thursday, September 25 - 5:00 P.M. and 7:00 P.M. (two sessions)
Town of Hoosick Rescue Squad
21 First Street
Hoosick Falls, NY 12090
Specifically, the Red Cross is seeking new members to join its Disaster Action Team. This team is made up of trained, on-call, volunteers who respond to frequent residential fires. Disaster Action Team members cover 12-hour shifts and are able to provide relief such as temporary housing, food, clothing, and medical and emotional support to victims of local disasters. They are also trained to open shelters and provide canteen services during large-scale emergency events.
Ed Roosa, the Red Cross Disaster Program Manager for the area, indicated that the need for local volunteers is substantial. "There are a lot of fires in Rensselaer County," said Roosa. "Our response to those fires becomes delayed if we do not have an adequate number of local volunteers, because we then need to dispatch people from other counties to respond here." Roosa explained that the Red Cross responds to about 350 fires each year in the 17-county Northeastern New York Region. Most of those fires are centered in higher-population centers and urban areas like Troy, where volunteers can play an especially critical role.
The Red Cross is seeking new Disaster Action Team members over the age of 18, who have a cell phone, an email address, a vehicle and a desire to help their neighbors. Those who have a familiarity with emergency services or fire scenes are especially welcome, but no previous experience is necessary. Free training is provided to Red Cross volunteers who wish to serve as disaster responders.
Prospective volunteers in Rensselaer County can begin to learn more by attending a recruitment session on September 23 or 25. Each session will last approximately one hour, with experienced Red Cross disaster responders available to answer questions.
For more information about the Disaster Action Team and other Red Cross volunteer opportunities, visit redcross.org/volunteer or call (518) 458-8111.