Red Cross offers volunteer training after week of 14 fires

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT)- There were 14 fires this week in different parts of Region 8. Volunteers with The American Red Cross respond to those fires and offer emotional support and resources for the families.

On Saturday morning, volunteers attended a training session to learn how to better respond to fires in our area.

"Across Northeast Arkansas we average about a fire a day," said disaster manager, Jody Carter. "Since Christmas we've been averaging three times that, we've had a lot of fires lately."

The volunteers at American Red Cross offer immediate emergency assistance and Carter said there is a big demand for their services.

"We want to make sure those people who have been displaced by fire have a place to go, a couple sets of clothes and they got food to get them through the next few days," he said.

Merry Johnson has been volunteering with the Red Cross for 6 years and have responded to numerous emergency events.

"I've been a volunteer with my local fire department and I've seen the needs and what happens after fires and I just felt like I needed to do a  little bit more to help those people," Johnson said.

She said this volunteer training session is important because it helps them learn more ways to help those in need.

"A lot of people are just surprised that the American Red Cross even shows up, we're trying to make our presence more known," Johnson said.

The training session will touch on communication skills and how to interact with people during a crisis.

"We're going to show some videos of clients that have been videoed and they are going to actually practice and fill out a whole bunch of paperwork," Carter said.

He said the American Red Cross is always looking for more volunteers.

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