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Students encouraged to get prepared for emergencies

09/12/2013

JSU was fortunate to receive the Volunteer Generation Fund grant which is funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

This new program, which is supported by the JSU Emergency Management Department, promotes disaster volunteerism at JSU to support community disaster preparedness, response, and recovery efforts and to help build local capacity.

Ms. Sherry Kitchens attended the freshman orientation “browse sessions” where the theme for her table was Disaster Volunteers Rock! While attending these sessions she spoke to the incoming freshmen and their parents about the Volunteer Generation Fund program. Many students signed up to attend an informational meeting which was held last Thursday.

Fifteen students and two faculty members attended the informational meeting, where they learned more about the VGF program and how they can become disaster volunteers.

The VGF program has many ways in which the JSU community
can be involved. On Wednesday, September 11, 2013 the Emergency Management Department in support of the VGF program and in collaboration with the East Alabama VGF program and in collaboration with the East Alabama Emergency Management Coalition hosted READY JSU Day. This was a campus-wide and community event in celebration of disaster resilience and volunteerism.

Held on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the day’s events included a symposium, disaster volunteer training, an open house where attendees met local disaster agencies, and a service learning workshop for faculty. The symposium focused on recent Alabama experience with the 2011 tornadoes and highlighted the role of preparedness and planning for community recovery.

There are two upcoming events which will be held on Tuesday, September 17, 2013. The first is Get Ready Day which is a collaboration between the JSU Nursing Department and the JSU Department of Emergency Management. Held from 9am – 1pm at 14 venues around the JSU campus, attendees will receive timely emergency preparedness and medical information.

The second event is a JSU Campus CERT interest meeting at Houston Cole Library, Room 1101-B, from 6:30pm – 7:30pm. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates ordinary people about disaster preparedness. The CERT Program trains you in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, and disaster medical operations. With proper CERT training, you can help protect your family, neighbors, and co-workers if a disaster occurs.

Finally, there is a great need in Calhoun County for individuals who are trained to operate the Volunteer Reception Center (VRC) which activates during times of disaster. A VRC is a location used to manage and organize unaffiliated volunteers who show up to help during a disaster. The volunteers are processed at the VRC to determine their skill-set and then tasked with assignments where their skills can be utilized for the disaster relief effort. Volunteer Reception Center training is being offered by the Hands On Network, the Calhoun County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), and the JSU Volunteer Generation Fund program on Saturday, September 21, 2013 from 8am – 2pm (lunch will be provided), at the Jacksonville Train Depot, 650 Mountain St. NW, Jacksonville, AL 36265. Seating is limited and will be filled on a first come-first serve basis.

To learn more about why Disaster Volunteers Rock! or to participate in any of the VGF program events and/or training please contact Sherry A. Kitchens at 256-782-5937 or skitchens@jsu.edu.

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