Most of the 62,000 emergencies the Red Cross responds to each year are local disasters like home fires. Trained and available, Disaster Action Team volunteers are ready to respond to these emergencies, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
While the Tennessee Region is lucky to have such highly skilled volunteers, the need for more disaster volunteers is great in many of the state’s more rural areas. This is especially true as the state has increasing numbers of local house fire clients for the fall and winter. American Red Cross volunteers arrive on scene after first responders to help those with critical needs after a fire has heavily damaged or destroyed a home or apartment.
“We have several counties that may only have one or two Disaster Action Team volunteers that live in the area,” said Joel Sullivan, Regional Executive for the American Red Cross of the Tennessee Region. “The need is great in the small communities for people who are willing to help. We need more volunteers who care about others and are willing to step up and make a difference for their neighbors.”
Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age and complete a volunteer application, including a background check. Required training is provided free of charge.
“There is a volunteer job for anyone who wants one,” Sullivan added. “These people help their neighbors on what is definitely their darkest of days. Volunteers are there to hold their hand, help them fill out important documents and connect them with services to get them back on their feet after a fire. It is a very important job and one our disaster action team members do very well.”
Red Cross assistance to families may include resources for emergency lodging, food, clothing, replacement of prescription medication, emotional support, and help connecting with other agencies that may provide ongoing assistance. To find out more information on how you can volunteer for the Red Cross in your community as a Disaster Action Team member, go to RedCross.org/Volunteer. You can search your location for available volunteer opportunities.
The need for DAT volunteers is immediate in the following chapters: East Tennessee Chapter, Heart of Tennessee Chapter, Mid-South Chapter, Mid-West Chapter, Nashville Area Chapter, Northeast Tennessee Chapter, Southeast Tennessee Chapter, Tennessee River Chapter, and the American Red Cross – Fort Campbell.
To support the Red Cross, consider volunteering or making a donation by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 gift.
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families.
The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.