Get trained to save a life

27 Jul 2004 | Lance Cpl. Aaron P. Mankin

Free disaster relief training classes, sponsored by the Red Cross, will be held at the chapter building located at 12 Ruth St. in Jacksonville, N.C. through August, to prepare the community for the approaching hurricane season. 

Red Cross disaster relief focuses on meeting people's immediate emergency disaster-caused needs. When a disaster threatens or strikes, the Red Cross provides shelter, food, health and mental health services to address basic human needs. In addition to these services, the core of Red Cross disaster relief is the assistance given to individuals and families affected by a disaster. It enables them to resume their normal daily activities independently.

The Red Cross also feeds emergency workers, handles inquiries from concerned family members outside the disaster area, provides blood and blood products to disaster victims and helps those affected by disaster to access other available resources.

The first class may be attended Aug. 10th or 12th and will focus on an introduction to disaster aid, as well as an overview of mass care.  The classes are scheduled from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

On Aug. 14th classes are slated between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to include shelter operations and shelter simulations.  Previous classes will serve as a prerequisite to attend later classes.

The final class will be held on Aug 28th from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and focus on the importance of family services.

"This is more my specialty," said Margaret Idol, the disaster coordinator and trainer at the Jacksonville Red Cross chapter.

"The family service course is when we focus on the aftermath of a disaster and work together on case work with individual families affected by disaster," said Idol.  "We help them buy food, clothes and rent hotels so they have a place to stay."

"The biggest problem in a disaster is having people who want to help, but they are not prepared or properly trained," said Idol

"This is a chance for people to equip themselves with the tools necessary to be beneficial during a natural disaster or a terrorist attack," she said.

A Red Cross survey found that only two in 10 Americans feel "very prepared" for a catastrophic event.  Only about half of parents polled knew the disaster plans of their child's school or daycare. In fact, only one in 10 American households have a family emergency plan, a disaster kit and training in first aid and CPR.

"We need to narrow the universe of the unprepared-the people we need to worry about in catastrophic situations-and it's not going to be easy," said Marsha J. Evans, American Red Cross president and chief executive officer, in a speech concerning America's preparedness for disasters.

"Every one of those unprepared Americans is a potential barrier to the effectiveness of our response to any disaster," said Evans.

For more information and to register for the disaster training classes contact the Jacksonville Red Cross chapter at (910) 347-3581.