Manila and Leachville Residents Invited to Become Disaster Volunteers
BLYTHEVILLE-The American Red Cross will host a volunteer Disaster Team recruiting and application event for Mississippi County residents from 2-6 p.m. Friday, April 20, at the Farmer's Market grocery store in Manila.
While this Disaster Team drive is open to all, there is a focus on Manila and Leachville residents. "We would like persons 17 years and older, interested in responding to disasters such as home fires in Manila and Leachville, as well as other responses in Mississippi County," stated Disaster Volunteer Penny Sanders. One of Sander's responsibilities is to recruit and grow volunteers from across Mississippi County.
The American Red Cross responds to an average of four residential fires a day across Arkansas. "Our Disaster Teams respond around the clock for individuals after a fire with comfort kits filled with personal toiletry items, as well as care with emergency food, shelter and other disaster supplies as needed," explained Sanders. Arkansas is number three on the Federal Emergency Management's (FEMA) High Fire Fatality list. Disaster volunteers provide direction as well as comfort to those displaced by a home fire.
"There are a variety of skills that volunteers perform from damage assessment, to mobile truck drivers, to prepping and managing shelters during large disasters" stated Sanders. "Logistics and computer skills, as well as mental health, social workers and nurses are also encouraged to volunteer."
Red Cross volunteers are trained to respond to weather related as well as man-made disasters in advance. "During a disaster is not the time for on the job training," explained Sanders. "It's important our Disaster Teams are ready to hit the ground running when the call for help is made no matter the time of day or night." The skills learned in Arkansas are consistent with Red Cross training nationally. "What's great about that is for the person interested and available to travel, their skills work whether the disaster is in Manila, Hot Springs or on the east coast were numerous Arkansas Red Cross volunteers cared for residents after Hurricane Irene this past fall." Volunteers who sign up to help during a disaster will not be able to participate in that disaster response, but will be trained at a later date for future responses.
Anyone wanting more information should contact Penny Sanders through the Blytheville office of the American Red Cross Northeast Arkansas Chapter at 870-763-4481, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Additional information on the American Red Cross in Arkansas including disaster and safety tips and health and safety classes can be found at www.arkansasredcross.org.
All American Red Cross disaster relief is provided to anyone affected by disasters such as residential fires free of charge. To donate to the American Red Cross Northeast Arkansas Chapter persons may visit www.arkansasredcross.org.