Volunteers receive disaster training

Seventy-five national shelter wardens and Red Cross volunteers are participating in a sociology training workshop.

The workshop is geared at helping volunteers and wardens cope with the ordeal of preparing and dealing with the aftermath of a major disaster like a hurricane.

For four days the group worked on ways to cope with stress, crisis and trauma, loss and grief and population needs such as children and the elderly.

Also joining the group Friday and Saturday were participants from six overseas territories Bermuda, Turks & Caicos, Montserrat, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla and Brac Red Cross.

The wardens and volunteers were taught by trainers Sharon Brown and Shauna Porter from the Jamaica Red Cross Psychosocial Support Unit.

‘Although no structural damage was sustained after Hurricane Dean, people still had to deal with emotional and social fears,’ said Red Cross Director Jondo Obi. ‘People are scared and kids lose a lot during this time. There is also disorientation and confusion. The support training will help volunteers feel more empowered and take care of people better.

‘Shelter wardens and volunteers sacrifice a lot of their time by leaving their families behind to take care of others. The Red Cross wants to take care and enhance the skills of these people who give their time and energy to make sure others are safe.’

The training workshop was opened by Donovan Ebanks, chairman of the National Hurricane Committee.

On Thursday, Red Cross Patron Governor Stuart Jack hosted a reception for all participants to thank them for their work as volunteers.