VERO BEACH — How will our community respond when a hurricane hits? When tornadoes ripped through Joplin, Missouri this past spring, over 32,000 volunteers showed up to help rebuild that torn and tattered community.
To coordinate volunteer support prior to a disaster, the United Way of Indian River County and Indian River County’s Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) are holding a mock disaster volunteer reception exercise on Friday July 29 from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the United Way Center, 1836 14th Avenue, Vero Beach. Participant check-in will begin at 8:30 a.m.; training will begin at 9:00 a.m. and conclude at 11:30 a.m.
“Spontaneous volunteers are a wonder of nature in their own right, the outpouring of support and good will is overwhelming. But the real power is seen when their efforts are coordinated and put to the best use,” stated United Way Community Investment Coordinator and VOAD representative, Evelyn Ballance.
The Volunteer Reception Center Exercise offers realistic simulation, in which participants will process spontaneous volunteers, communicate with local agencies about their volunteer needs, and provide volunteer identification and safety briefings. Your ideas and participation will help ensure that our region receives maximum benefit from the contributions of volunteers when disaster strikes.
Volunteers would be deployed in a real situation to help in ways such as:
* Answering phones, interviewing spontaneous volunteers and matching them to assignments, and providing safety training;
* Assisting staff in the IRC Emergency Operations Center;
* Handing out water at distribution sites to those in need;
* Preparing and distributing meals to victims and relief workers;
* Compiling and distributing disaster recovery information;
* Providing debris removal and clean-up assistance to the elderly or disabled;
* Assisting the elderly or disabled with installing and/or removing hurricane shutters
“We have a responsibility to be prepared to meet the needs of this community. Preparation, communication, and coordination are essential to be able to respond quickly and effectively post-disaster,” stated Michael Kint, United Way CEO.
This training and exercise are provided free of charge, but VOAD needs a minimum of fifteen (15) people signed up by Friday, July 22 to make the training worthwhile.
To register, call United Way Indian River County, (772) 567-8900 ext. 20, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.