TAVARES — The first of three volunteer disaster training courses scheduled in March is set for Friday, March 17, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Minneola City Hall, located at 800 N. U.S. Highway 27.
Open to the public, the volunteer reception center training, hosted by the Lake County Department of Community Services Volunteer Program, helps prepare potential volunteers and local volunteers of community agencies, such as the American Red Cross and Salvation Army, for the upcoming hurricane season and other potential large-scale disasters.
“This training exercise is being held in South Lake County to address a challenge we faced during the 2004 hurricane season of reaching out to communities in this area,” said Helena Osborne-Ponsi, Lake County Volunteer Coordinator.
The training course teaches volunteers the protocol for setting up a volunteer reception center during a disaster. A volunteer reception center provides emergency managers a place where large numbers of volunteers can be efficiently processed and referred to agencies needing their services.
A volunteer reception center also assists agencies with being able to fully document records of volunteer hours, define specific job duties for skilled volunteers, appropriately place more volunteers and provide a positive public perception of response and recovery efforts.
Representatives from other local agencies, such as the Lake County chapter of Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), the Lake County Sheriff’s Office volunteer program and the Lake County Health Department Medical Reserve Corp, will be present at the training course to inform the community of their volunteering opportunities.
The Lake County Department of Community Services Volunteer Program will continue its series of Disaster Management Volunteer Reception Center training courses on:
• Thursday, March 23, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Spring Creek Elementary, 44440 Spring Creek Road, Paisley; and
• Wednesday, March 29, 3 to 5 p.m., at Astor County Library, 54905 Alco Road
For more information about the Disaster Management Volunteer Reception training courses, call Helena Osborne-Ponsi at (352) 343-9771.