Weatherford Democrat

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January 8, 2013

Red Cross needing volunteers

(Continued)

They currently have a particular daytime deficit because of volunteers who work regular jobs, he said. 

When they don’t have enough manpower locally, they have to ask for assistance from other counties. 

Volunteers from nearby counties were requested to assist when a grassfire north of Weatherford destroyed several buildings and displaced four families this past summer, according to Diano. 

The basic services they provide to displaced residents at emergencies include providing food, clothing, short-term shelter and emergency medical items or prescriptions.

They also offer first responder support, providing water, Gatorade, snacks and even meals for those at the scene of emergencies. 

Staying in the safe zones around disasters, “we try and bridge the relationship between incident command and the affected family,” Diano said. 

As emergency personnel deal with the incident, the Red Cross volunteers “can deal with the family and begin to talk about how they can begin to recover,” Diano said. 

His goal is to build a workforce that can respond to incidents for up to three days. 

He’s also working on training volunteers for disaster assessment groups, which would be used to assess needs in the event of a larger-scale incident, such as flooding, wind damage, hail damage or a large power failure due to ice. 

Red Cross volunteers also assist with other community events. 

Diano said they are typically asked to run rest stops at the Peach Pedal and Ride United and that takes a minimum of 10 volunteers. 

They also try to provide emergency preparedness information, such as recommending people look at their insurance policy for certain things before disaster strikes. 

To begin the volunteer application process with the Red Cross, applicants can fill out an application online at redcross.org, go through a background check and schedule their first orientation class, a disaster services overview, Diano said. 

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