Special trainings offered for those interested in joining the Disaster Action Team.
The American Red Cross responds to approximately 64,000 disasters each year and most are home fires. Red Cross Disaster Action Teams (DAT) are the first line of care, comfort and compassion for those affected by a disaster.
In Fiscal Year 2018, there were 482 DAT responses in Kansas and demand for DAT services is rising. To meet those demands, the Red Cross is making an urgent call for new volunteers.
“We strive to respond consistently in a proactive, timely and meaningful way, making services available to everyone who needs assistance,” said Shannon Wedge, Executive Director of the American Red Cross Serving South Central and Southeast Kansas. “To do that, it is essential that we grow our base of volunteers.”
No previous experience is required. Volunteers will be trained to respond to a scene of a disaster and properly assist those affected. The Red Cross is offering special disaster volunteer training sessions this spring.
The following training sessions are scheduled for South Central and Southeast Kansas:
• March 7, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. – Girard Fire Department (116 N. Ozark, Girard, Kansas)
• April 4, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. – Trinity United Methodist Church (1602 N. Main St., Hutchinson, Kansas)
• April 18, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. – Neosho Community College (800 W. 114th St., Rowland 305, Chanute, Kansas)
• May 2, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. – Public Safety Office, 321 E. 10th Ave., Lower Level, Winfield, Kansas)
March is Red Cross Month and to celebrate, the Red Cross is encouraging people to be a hero in their community through volunteering, donating blood, giving financially or taking a first aid or CPR course. Becoming a DAT member is a great way to be a hero.
DAT members distribute relief supplies, provide client assistance for temporary lodging and other disaster-caused needs, offer some health services, mental health services and spiritual care.
DAT members encounter people who are experiencing possibly the worst day of their lives. While the lodging, food and supplies are welcomed, many times it is the comfort and emotional support that DAT members provide that makes the most difference.
“Volunteers carry out 90 percent of the service provided by the American Red Cross, so it goes without saying without volunteers, we couldn’t do what we do,” Wedge said. “DAT members are there in the immediate hours after a home fire or other local disaster to provide compassionate care and comfort. They are an important part of our mission.”
About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.