Red Cross to train volunteers

Published 8:44 pm Wednesday, May 18, 2011

As April’s violent tornadoes brought devastation to hundreds across the state of Alabama, many residents were left alone with no one to help during the state of shock.

That’s why the American Red Cross believes it is so important for trained volunteers to be readily available during times of need.

“After careful review and debriefings from the disaster, one critical weakness readily identified is the need for trained volunteers,” said Jakki Caldwell-Phillips, executive director of Black Belt American Red Cross.

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To solve this problem, the Black Belt office will offer free disaster training classes in Shelter Operations and Mass Care on May 23 at 6 p.m. Phillips encourages all community spirited individuals, churches, social clubs and civic organizations to get involved and register.

Helping to comfort victims of disasters, teaching first aid, helping with blood drives and offering general office support, are just some of the reasons Phillips suggests volunteerism is important.

“It’s really critical for trained volunteers to be able to immediately respond during disasters because trained volunteers help keep down confusion and strengthen the concerns and safety of the community as a whole,” Phillips said. “During a disaster is not the time for volunteers to be trained, and we want to make sure training is done beforehand. We don’t want a disaster within a disaster.”

Disaster courses will take place at 812 Selma Ave. To register for the free training, please call 874-7748.

The Red Cross has channeled more than $2.5 million in immediate financial assistance to victims affected by recent tornadoes and provided them with food, clothing and shelter.