Well-trained volunteers can be extremely helpful to communities enduring or recovering from disasters. Citizens who wanted to help out recently showed up in droves at the Greater Columbus of the Red Cross to take part in a program that provided emergency preparedness skills, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
John Born, director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, called on government workers to take part in classes conducted by the Red Cross in order to get ready for disasters. In reply to Born's request, close to 180 volunteers took part in the courses, enabling them to respond to crisis victims in need of assistance during emergencies.
"Our employees want to make things better, make a difference," Born said. "It's both an obligation and an opportunity. It's a chance to directly contribute when people need help the most."
Born's call to action was fuelled in part by state legislation that allows volunteer employees to participate in emergency relief efforts for up to 30 days with pay and benefits.
In addition to learning the fundamentals of readiness, attendees of the Red Cross classes are taught extra skills in an area of expertise of their choosing.
Officials can further expand their disaster preparedness repertoire by implementing emergency notification systems such as Omnilert. It can be used to call for volunteers across multiple direct communication channels and keep them updated with news and information as it develops.