The American Red Cross relies on the power of volunteers to be able to respond to disasters 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The North Country Chapter – which serves seven counties including Lewis, Jefferson, and St. Lawrence – is called to an average of 100 home fires and other local disasters each year. With every call, volunteers respond in teams of two or more to provide disaster relief in the form of shelter, financial assistance and emotional support. In order to empower more North Country residents to help their neighbors in need as Red Cross volunteers, the North Country Chapter will hold a four-week “Disaster University” training program in Lewis County beginning on March 23, 2017.
“Winter and summer storms, high winds, power outages and home fires affect communities in Lewis County year round. We are continually preparing our people and our resources to ensure that disaster relief remains immediately available to those in need,” said Jane Gendron, executive director for the American Red Cross North Country Chapter. “We want to build capacity now, before disaster strikes. If you have ever had an interest in responding to disasters in your community, I encourage you to consider becoming a Red Cross Disaster Responder this spring.”
The four-week Disaster University will be held on Thursday evenings at the New Breman Fire Hall:
American Red Cross Disaster University
March 23, March 30, April 6, and April 13
New Bremen Fire Hall
8154 NY-812, Lowville, NY 13367
Orientation from 5:30 P.M. – 6:00 P.M.
Training from 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.
An orientation session will be offered from 5:30 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. each week for volunteers who are new to the Red Cross. Training offerings will include courses like Disaster Cycle Services: An Overview, Shelter Fundamentals and Psychological First Aid. While it is not required to attend all four sessions to get started as a volunteer, it is highly recommended as each night will include different trainings.
The Disaster University will incorporate all the on-boarding, orientation, and training necessary for new Red Cross volunteers to begin their journey as Disaster Action Team members and/or Disaster Responders. Disaster Action Team members cover on-call shifts to provide relief to victims of local home fires and other emergencies. Disaster Responders are trained to do things like open shelters and provide canteen services during large-scale disasters.
To join a Disaster Action Team or be a Disaster Responder, volunteers must be at least 18 years old with a cell phone, email address, driver’s license, reliable transportation and a desire to help people in need. No experience is necessary, but those familiar with emergency services or fire scenes are especially encouraged to join. All training, including the four-week Disaster University, is provided free of charge.
To learn more and to register for Disaster University, please contact Taylor Fanelli at (315) 520-6259 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Registrations are preferred but walk-ins are welcome. Those that are interested in volunteer opportunities but are unable to attend Disaster University are encouraged to visit www.redcross.org/volunteer.