Red Cross seeking Disaster Action Team members
The Red Cross Lee and Collier County Chapters are seeking additional volunteer who are interested in joining their Disaster Action Team to assist people during their time of need.
Communication coordinator Colin Downey said they currently have approximately 500 volunteers in Lee and Collier County and about 50 Disaster Action Team member volunteers recorded in their books.
“We can easily double the amount of DAT volunteers and be happy with that,” Downey said, adding that they are always recruiting DAT volunteers and certified volunteers.
The majority of the calls that DAT members receive are for single family home fires and brush fires.
Downey said they have been quite busy with responding to brush fires this year. He said DAT members provide water and food to the first responders.
Lee County DAT members are on call for 12 hours and Collier County members are on call for 24 hours. Downey said they are good at working around an individual’s schedule.
The volunteers in Collier are on call for a longer amount of time, Downey said, because they generally have more volunteers on the books in Lee County.
DAT members are required to take an additional five specialized courses to become certified. Downey said the classes teach them how to work with people following a disaster and how to manage cases.
“There are specific sets of programs for these volunteers; they are very highly trained,” he said.
Downey said people who want to become a DAT volunteer should have a willingness to work with others.
“That is important,” he said adding volunteers are sometimes faced with difficult circumstances of helping someone cope with losing everything they owned in a fire.
Downey said the DAT volunteer often becomes the person who provides a hug or helps them work through a difficult time.
Individuals who want to become a certified Red Cross volunteer are also required to take five classes, which amounts to approximately 15 hours worth of training.
The classes, which are free, are typically held from 6-9 p.m. Downey said the classes are usually scheduled three months out to give individuals the opportunity to work the classes into their schedules.
There are two requirements a volunteer must meet, which includes being at least 18-years-old, along with having a fairly clean driving record.
For those who are interested can contact the Lee County Chapter at 239-278-3401 or the Collier County Chapter at 239-596-6868.