SCIOTO — In a time when everything is in some type of chaos, and businesses and people are just starting to come out of the cocoon and begin the process of reopening, places like the Red Cross have to change things that they have always done, in order to help people in the best and fastest way possible.
Not only is the Red Cross always in need of blood, but they are also in great need of volunteers. During the heart of the pandemic, many of the volunteers did not feel safe to go directly to help those in need. However, there was still the need for volunteers, but just in a different way. With a 90% workforce of volunteers, the Red Cross needs volunteers to be able to serve the community to the best of their ability.
“The thing that we need most in the Tri-State chapter, which Scioto County is a part of, is the position of Disaster Action Team (DAT) members,” Disaster Program Manager for the Tri-State Red Cross, Roy Grimmett said. “Currently, it is a virtual position. DAT’s are the first point of contact with disaster victims/clients. DAT’s sign up for shifts on an on-call basis and whenever they are on-call, they are alerted of the client in need via a smartphone app. At that point, they call the client and perform what we referred to as an intake interview. Then when the DAT completes that intake interview, which consists of all the basic information, they enter that information into the client care system.”
Grimmett shared DAT’s also determine which is the best method to provide clients with what they refer to as direct client assistance (DCA)and then determine if that client should receive a client assistance card or if they have the means to receive an electronic funds transfer.
“What the DAT does is receive the call, do the interview, input the information and determine which method is best for the individual client or disaster victim to get the DCA,” Grimmett said. “Then they take care of the way the clients receive help. It is a very important job because, with every house fire, they have to engage in that and do what has to be done as quickly as possible.”
Grimmett explained how volunteering for DAT’s positions works and what those can expect.
“When you sign up for shifts as a volunteer, the hours and days are up to you, you can sign up for just a few hours on one day a week, or for several days or less for a few hours and possibly up to 12 hours. You may not be contacted at all during your shift, but house fires can happen at any time. You would be trained on self-paced courses online along with videos and virtual instructor-led training,” Grimmett said.
Another important program Grimmett hopes to bring awareness to is the ‘Sound the Alarm’ program which is part of their ongoing National home fire campaign that the Red Cross does 365 days a year. Pre-COVID, the Red Cross used to install smoke alarms, but due to the pandemic, they have partnered with their local fire departments with a service plan agreement.
Grimmett also wanted the local community to know that the Red Cross has not left Scioto County. They have an office now, in the Masonic Temple Building, but are unable to be in the office due to COVID. They plan on being there as soon as they are given the get-go and he looks forward to being in Portsmouth and working with the people in the area. Even though they are not in the office, the local chapter is still in great need of volunteers.
If interested in volunteering, visit the Red Cross or Red Cross Volunteer website and click on the become a volunteer portal. Interested volunteers can call Grimmett at 304-544-9207 or email@example.com or call directly to 1-800-Red-Cross.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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