Red Cross offers disaster-related volunteer training

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Despite dodging a bullet with Tropical Storm Gordon, the Louisiana Red Cross is making sure volunteers are ready to roll when disaster strikes again.

Around a dozen volunteers met at the Baton Rouge Chapter Office Friday to get trained on shelter fundamentals.

In the crowd taking notes was Lamar Dixon Expo Center employee Laurin Sharon. She recalls the 2016 flood when the event center turned into a disaster relief shelter.

“It’s definitely appropriate that we get some reps out here from the parish, so that if this happens again, we know exactly what we are doing,” Sharon said.

The training session walked volunteers through the strategy behind shelter location, how to open shelters up, how to manage the shelter and how to properly close it down. By learning these tips and taking notes, Sharon said she will be able to provide people with more answers if her place of employment turns into a shelter once again.

“It’s better to be informed,” Sharon said. “It’s good to know you can supply information and help other people,” Sharon said.

Stephanie Wagner, the Regional Director of Communications and Marketing for the American Red Cross of Louisiana, said they can use all the volunteers they can get during a major disaster. That’s why they’re holding these free training sessions, so people are prepared to step in when disaster strikes.

“They’re able to get trained up in advance, so they can show up at our facilities and help manage the shelters and serve the community in their time of need,” Wagner said.

There will be a Disaster Action Team basics training at the Baton Rouge Chapter Office (4655 Sherwood Common Parkway) on Friday, Sept. 7 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. There is another session for that same training on Saturday, September 8 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Vermillion Parish Library (405 E. St Victor Street) in Abbeville. 

To register for trainings, contact Jodi Toliver at jodi.toliver@redcross.org or call 504-620-2401.

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