Red Cross seeks disaster relief volunteers in Iqaluit
“We could always use more people”
The Red Cross wants to recruit more volunteers in Iqaluit for disaster relief assistance.
If you live in Iqaluit and think you’re interested in helping people during a disaster, such as last year’s Creekside Village fire, you can sign up to take a training session this weekend, March 16 and 17.
On the first day, you will learn how to become part of a Red Cross volunteer “personal disaster response team,” which springs into action when there’s a disaster, natural or man-made.
On Sunday, you will learn how to manage shelters and relief centres in disaster relief efforts, said Iqaluit Red Cross organizer Michel Rheault.
The weekend clinics will also teach procedures on social aid in emergencies, such as “how to deal with people who are experiencing post-traumatic stress,” Rheault said.
There’s no cost to the sessions, which the Red Cross offers once a year.
This year’s clinics are aimed to expand the agency’s volunteer base beyond its current membership of 12 to a bank of 30 volunteers.
“We could always use more people,” Rheault said.
That’s because volunteers tend to come and go over the course of a year.
Red Cross disaster relief volunteers helped efforts in last year’s fire at Creekside Village in the city, in which 22 row house units were destroyed.
And they also helped out in Kimmirut last spring, when a flash-flood damaged a duplex that was home to two families.
In both these emergencies, volunteers gave psychological and moral support, and organized and delivered emergency supplies and helped organize food and shelter.
If you’re interested in becoming a disaster relief volunteer, you will also have to complete an assignment before the course, either online or out of a workbook.
That independent study will take you about two to three hours to finish.
To become a fully-certified member of the disaster response team you will also have to complete, or have completed, a First Aid course from the Red Cross or St. John’s Ambulance.
“Interest has been pretty strong,” Rheault said, but space is still available to sign on by March 15 at noon.
You can call Rheault at 975-8508 to register by the deadline.