WHEELING - The American Red Cross in West Virginia is renewing its efforts to recruit disaster response volunteers for the Northern Panhandle.
A volunteer recruitment event is slated from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday at the Red Cross office, located at 193 29th St., Wheeling. People can stop in during those hours and learn more about being a disaster volunteer and also fill out an application.
Todd Wines, a Red Cross disaster program manager based in Parkersburg, and Red Cross case worker Jesse Hott said the volunteers are needed to speed up response times to disasters such as house fires and floods. For example, since Hott started working out of the Wheeling office, he has responded to 19 fires during this past winter alone.
NEEDING?HELP — American Red Cross of West Virginia workers Jesse Hott, left, and Todd Wines pose inside the 29th Street office in Wheeling. -- Shelley Hanson
"The Northern Panhandle has 12 volunteers. There are two new volunteers in Wheeling. We're trying to get more there. There are a lot in Wetzel and Hancock County. We're trying to get coverage in all counties," Wines said.
Wines said the more volunteers who can get trained, the better, as during a major disaster many people are needed to run shelters 24 hours a day.
There is no cost for the training. Volunteers receive an identification badge and Red Cross clothing. A limited background check is conducted on potential volunteers.
Volunteers respond to a disaster or fire and assess victims' needs. For example, those who lose their home in a fire may need a hotel room to stay in until they find another place to live. For those who need longer-term help, the Red Cross refers victims to shelters, such as the Salvation Army.
For more information, call (304) 232-0711.