Friday, October 22, 2010

Ghosts, Goblins, and DAT Members!

Volunteer Coordinator, Anya Goosev along with Health & Safety Coordinator, Alex Villa
When I first started  with the American Red Cross Central Valley Chapter, I overheard many terms used by the Disaster Services Staff, such as: DAT, DSHR, and CAT. Fortunately, there is Disaster Relief even for Red Cross employees, which comes in the form of the American Red Cross Dictionary, which has the definition for almost every "Cross-word" that you can ever imagine. 

DAT (Disaster Action Team) - Responds to the scene of a disaster to provide immediate assistance to the individuals and families affected, whether it is one person at a house fire or 300 people evacuated to a shelter because of a flood.

Last night, we held a meeting in order to recruit and inform our newest volunteers to join the "Disaster Action Team," and what is expected of you as a Red Cross Volunteer. There was plenty of spooky dishes shared, and costumes worn by almost all of the members. We heard many great stories from DAT members who have responded to several local calls, and those who have worked in shelters, and even a great story from someone who has been deployed on a National level. 

I also had the pleasure of meeting, Sally Ramirez, a DAT volunteer who has been with the American Red Cross for over 55 years. You would think after this many dedicated years our Sally would be burned out (no pun intended) but as you can see, she is still having a great time and dedicated to the mission of the Red Cross. It is with the help of our volunteers like Sally, that the American Red Cross Central Valley Chapter has been able to provide Disaster Relief services to over 446 local families in the last year. 

Overall, I left the meeting with a real sense of understanding of what and who the Red Cross is. It is with these dedicated individuals that the Red Cross has been known as the face of relief for so many years. I cannot express my gratitude enough to those who put the needs of others in front of their own day in and day out to ensure that the mission of the Red Cross has been fulfilled.

Alex Villa
Health & Safety Coordinator

Become a Disaster Action Team Member:

The DAT volunteer signs up for 6 to 24 hour shifts at a time, responds from home as called and works as part of a 2-4 person team. A minimum of 36 hours per month (on call) commitment is requested. Basic training is offered free of charge to the volunteer and includes computer-based and classroom courses, as well as on the job training.

Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age, have reliable personal transportation during scheduled on-call periods, a valid driver’s license and pass a basic criminal history check.

Emergencies happen locally all the time. If you are interested on being part of a local response team and are not already assigned to DAT Team, email Anya Goosev or call 559-455-1000.