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    Friday, August 12, 2022

    Red Cross needs volunteers, hosts training session Dec. 5

    The American Red Cross in Connecticut has a critical need for volunteers to join its Disaster Action Team to respond to local disasters, such as house fires, offering affected families immediate support on what may be one of the worst days in their lives.

    The Red Cross will host a one-day disaster volunteer training event from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, at the American Red Cross office, 1031 Route 32, Uncasville.

    The training day is open to new, potential volunteers across Connecticut. Registration is required; to sign up, for more information and to register, visit redcross.org/ct.

    During the session, volunteers will complete DAT training, meet members of the team and learn what it is like to be a disaster responder. Virtual and self-paced training are available for those who cannot attend but are interested in volunteering. All volunteers must be available for four shifts per month, have reliable personal transportation and a personal cellphone.

    After the training session, the new volunteers will be ready to go out on their first disaster call with a team of seasoned volunteers. COVID-19 safety protocols will be followed.

    As the nation’s most frequent disaster, house fires have remained a constant threat during the COVID-19 pandemic as people have spent more time at home. Since Labor Day, the Red Cross has seen a nearly 50% increase in local home fire responses in Connecticut compared to the same time last year, the agency said in a news release.

    Trained and available, Disaster Action Team volunteers are ready to respond to these emergencies 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. From offering a shoulder to cry on, to meeting any immediate needs for shelter or supplies, to connecting people with long-term recovery services, the volunteers ensure families don’t have to face tough times alone. 

    “Volunteers who respond to disasters are needed every day across Connecticut,” said Neil Brockway, regional disaster officer for American Red Cross Connecticut and Rhode Island Region. “The significant increase in home fire responses — combined with the impacts associated with the (ongoing) pandemic — has led to a critical need for volunteer Disaster Action Team members.” 

    Volunteers constitute about 90% of the Red Cross workforce and make it possible to respond to an average of two house fires each day in Connecticut, the news release said.

    “It’s critical to have a trained, ready volunteer workforce to make sure we can provide disaster relief at a moment’s notice,” said Mario Bruno, CEO, American Red Cross Connecticut and Rhode Island Region. “Please join our team of compassionate volunteers who are there to provide comfort, care and hope to families experiencing one of their darkest hours.”

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