When tornadoes land, hurricanes sweep inland or deadly accidents occur, The Salvation Army of Augusta wants to make sure its volunteers are ready to respond.
The organization will hold two days of disaster services training next week.
The classes help prepare volunteers who deploy to areas across the nation when a disaster strikes, said Katie Atkinson, a volunteer and the emergency disaster services coordinator.
“You never know when it’s going to happen. Be proactive. You’re going to wish you did when something does happen,” she said.
The first class, called Intro to Emergency Disaster Services, explains services offered by volunteers at a disaster site, what to expect during an emergency, and simple tips for packing and traveling.
Class participants receive training through interactive exercises that simulate volunteer work.
“We challenge volunteers to think of scenarios to try to understand them fully,” she said.
The second class teaches safe food handling. The majority of volunteers assist with mass feeding operations, Atkinson said.
“When you are at a disaster site, the more information you know and the more you feel comfortable the better you’ll be able to serve,” Atkinson said.
In the past year, the Salvation Army of Augusta deployed two volunteer teams. One helped with meal preparation for those affected by deadly tornadoes in northeast Alabama. The second assisted with cleanup after flooding in Pennsylvania.
Training is required before volunteers respond to a disaster site. Volunteers must also complete the Salvation Army’s online course on child abuse prevention.
On Friday, the Salvation Army is offering an optional basic first aid course.