‘Ready When the Time Comes’ is a partnership between the Eastern Oklahoma Region Red Cross and shelter sites, churches, local businesses, universities, colleges and community organizations in Pushmataha County. “This program trains and prepares participants in basic Red Cross disaster response. RWTC volunteers will be able to step up and volunteer in the event of a large scale local disaster” said Donna Head, Red Cross Disaster Action Team Lead of Choctaw and Pushmataha Counties. “These volunteers will only be called upon when a local disaster happens in Pushmataha County”.
Participants will be instructed on basic disaster response as well as Red Cross principles and procedures and ‘CPR for Everyone’. The total classroom training will last 3-4 hours. The training will be provided at any facility by certified Red Cross instructors at a mutually agreeable time.
‘The majority of teams will be working in Red Cross shelters during large scale disasters in their county,’ said Mrs. Head. Teams may also be called upon to do such things as work a Red Cross call center or operate a canteen for firefighters or police officers if they so choose to be called. It would depend on the type of disaster and the scope of the response from the Red Cross. “Teams will never be assigned a task beyond their level of training”.
A “Ready When the Time Comes” volunteer must fill out an application and successfully complete the training. A criminal background check conducted by the American Red Cross is required for all participants. A volunteer for this program must be at least eighteen years of age but there are no specific skill requirements to participate in RWTC.
“Recent events such as the 2007 ice storms, local floods and tornados have shown the communities how important it is to be prepared and trained before a disaster hits,” Donna said. The RWTC program gives both the Pushmataha County Red Cross and participating organizations many benefits. “The Red Cross is immediately able to access a trained and ready group of volunteers. This allows the focus to remain on the relief efforts and not on making phone calls trying to recruit untrained volunteers.”
Most ‘Ready When the Time Comes’ volunteers have a deep sense of satisfaction with their experience. They are able to help as soon as the Red Cross has a need. It awards them confidence and pride that they are providing a greatly needed service right here in Pushmataha county as well as in their own community.
For more information, please contact Rena Beezly at (918) 423-0481 or Donna Willison Head at (580) 317-4171 and leave a message.