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In need of volunteers, Red Cross begins training sessions

Posted: 10:05 PM, May 11, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-11 23:10:01-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Omaha-Council Bluffs chapter of the American Red Cross is looking to continue training more volunteers after the outpouring of support during the floods in March.

Some disasters can strike in neighborhoods, and chapter leaders are eager for more help.

"Our team responds to house and apartment fires, and there are cases where we don't have enough volunteers," said Sarah Vetter, the Red Cross Disaster Action Team coordinator.

In order to prepare for the worst, the local Red Cross chapter spent Saturday afternoon in their offices. Mentors including Vetter are training a handful of new recruits.

"I feel our at-home responses are not as well known," Vetter said.

She says about 95 percent of the Red Cross is made up of volunteers. The local chapter is looking to train more help after all the support during the flooding earlier this year.

Erin Sample is one of the trainees. She says she has some experience and want to continue to help the community.

"I signed up for disaster relief during the floods and I wanted to give back," Sample said. "This was another way of staying with the Red Cross."

Soon, these trainees will be the ones arriving to the scene of a fire. For now, they're learning to conduct interviews with homeowners to gather info about how much support the Red Cross can provide.

In about six months, volunteers will be able to drive the Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle to any fires in the metro area. They'll be a victim's first step on the road to recovery by interviewing and collecting info from homeowners and offering help in different ways.

Vetter says collecting information to prove ownership of the house allows the Red Cross to provide a credit card allowing access to funds. From there, families can buy immediate needs including shelter, food and clothing.

It's the worst nightmare for any homeowner--to lose everything to a disaster. That's why the Red Cross is looking to train more for whatever comes next.

The following training sessions are scheduled for the Omaha-Council Bluffs chapter. All training takes place at the Chapter Office located at 2912 S 80th Ave.

- May 18, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. -- Shelter Fundamentals
Attendees will be trained in the proper procedures to set up a run a shelter.

- May 20, 5-9 p.m. -- Disaster Action Team Training
Attendees will complete training necessary to become a Disaster Action Team (DAT) member.

- June 5, 5-9 p.m. -- Disaster Action Team Training
Attendees will complete training necessary to become a Disaster Action Team (DAT) member.

- June 11, 5-9 p.m. -- Disaster Action Team Training
Attendees will complete training necessary to become a Disaster Action Team (DAT) member.