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Nov 1, 2012 10:12 AM by Samantha Ptashkin

Volunteer with Red Cross Disaster Action Team

TUCSON- Whenever a major disaster like superstorm Sandy strikes, the Southern Arizona Chapter of the Red Cross is flooded with calls.

People want to know how they can help.

"The American Red Cross is made up of 95% volunteers, so to have that extra support is very important," says Emergency Disaster Director Cheryl Bender.

Every year the Red Cross hosts several disaster training orientations, teaching people what they need to know before they sign up to volunteer. "The time commitment, the health hazards that might be involved and the training that needs to go on behind it," Bender says.

The training itself can take up to 20 hours. Trainees learn how to respond to local and national disasters. "How a shelter is set up, what are the different components, where people need to sleep, how do we keep families together, separated from men and women who are single," Bender says.

Right now the Southern Arizona Chapter has 125 volunteers, but it's always looking for more. "We have people that work with other volunteer organizations, we have people that work in the financial and statistical portion of it, we have people that work in health and mental health," Bender says.

There will be a disaster training orientation tonight at 6 p.m. at the Red Cross office located at 2916 East Broadway.

There will also be training sessions Friday through Sunday in Sierra Vista.

To learn more, you can email trainds@redcrossarizona.org

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