Service opportunities abound for the willing
From the Ada City-County Emergency Management Office
Many people will take the opportunity to help others this month by donating food, their time or both to one of the shelters or the food bank. The holiday season is the time of year when such worthy things come to mind and people reach out and provide aid in their community.
During a disaster is also a time when people want to give back by donating goods or their time. Again, this is a very worthy desire; however, during the response and recovery phases of an incident, Spontaneous Unaffiliated Volunteers (SUVs) and unsolicited donations can create more issues than resolutions. The best way to give is to plan ahead. Become a member of a volunteer organization that responds to disasters.
Why join now?
Being a volunteer member of an organization that is active in disaster will make you more effective through the training and mission support you’ll receive. In a major disaster, help is needed from equipped, trained, self -sufficient volunteers who report and respond as requested. These volunteers become part of the solution.
In past disasters nationwide, well meaning, SUVs arrived with no equipment, no means to house or feed themselves and no training to prepare them for the tasks at hand. In these instances, incident responders were pulled from their primary jobs to attend to the needs of the SUVs. These volunteers actually added to the problems which already existed by creating greater stresses on available resources.
We all want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Help others by first learning how to help.
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
CERT members can assist others by applying the basic response and organizational skills they learn in training. These skills can help save and sustain lives following a disaster and apply to daily emergencies. For class enrollment or more information on the program contact Crash Marusich via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Medical Reserve Corps
The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is made up of community members with and without medical training, as well as public health professionals. Each individual possesses valuable skills that contribute to the day-to-day operations of the local public health department and during times of community need. For information on the program or to become a member go to: http://www.cdhd.org/PHP/mrc/index.htm
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross offers services in domestic disaster relief, community services to help the needy; support and comfort for military members and their families; the collection, processing and distribution of lifesaving blood and blood products; educational programs that promote health and safety; and international relief and development programs. For more information on volunteering with the Red Cross go to: http://www.redcrossidaho.org
Idaho Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (IDAVOAD) is composed of a large number of non-profit organizations. Its members independently meet relief and recovery needs within the cooperative framework the organization makes possible. You may already belong to a church or other community organization that has a branch in IDAVOAD. For a complete listing of the member organizations with contact information go to: http://idavoad.org/directory.pdf