AMHERST – The Red Cross was quick to respond in the moments after the Victorian Arms Apartments building caught fire late last month.
Now it needs a little help of its own.
The organization has issued a call for more volunteers so it can ready the next time there’s a major incident in the area. It’s hold a training session on Oct. 16.
“If there’s one thing the fire here and the flooding in Truro showed is that disaster can happen here and we need to be prepared for it,” Angela Lohnes said. “It’s important for us as an organization to recruit more volunteers so we can be prepared for when it does happen.”
Red Cross volunteers arrived at the scene of the fire soon after the alarm was sounded. They provided registration services for evacuees, provided them with blankets and set up a comfort centre.
The Red Cross provided assessments and referral services the day after the fire and worked with other community partners to make sure those impacted by the fire had food and shelter.
“In the big picture it helped increase our profile. A lot of people didn’t know what we actually do. Most times it’s going out to a house fire at two or three in the morning and helping out a family of four. This was a much larger event,” she said.
Lohnes said 16 volunteers worked over three days providing relief to fire victims. She said the need for more volunteers became evident during the relief effort and in the days following.
She said the Red Cross relies on its volunteers to provide services during and after an event. It’s a non-profit, humanitarian organization dedicated to helping Canadians, as well as the most vulnerable in the world.
Volunteers will be fully trained by the Red Cross. Among the duties are providing support to affected persons, putting the Red Cross response plans into action, responding to queries and referring, when necessary, to appropriate sources and completing client assessments and administrative follow-ups.
Lohnes said volunteers need to have excellent communication and listening skills and be able to work well and make decisions under stress.
Volunteers must be 18 years old and complete a criminal records check.
For more information, drop into the Amherst service centre on Church Street, call 667-8795 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.