Volunteer Reception Center Full-scale Exercise
On Thursday, SALT held its first full-scale disaster preparedness exercise! Schoharie County Office of Emergency Services brought the needed supplies, and the Cobleskill Zion-Lutheran Church hosted as our site. In the event of a real disaster the church is on SALT’s list of possible Volunteer Reception Center (VRC) sites.
A VRC is a place where those looking to volunteer in the event of a declared disaster can be dispatched where they’re needed most in a safe and organized fashion. Spontaneous volunteers can be a huge help but also pose a number of challenges–the center would help organize groups and ensure safety and security of the volunteers and the affected community. A VRC would be run by SALT operating with and under Schoharie County Office of Emergency Services. (Click here to read more about what a Volunteer Reception Center is and how it works.)
Along with Schoharie Area Long Term Recovery VISTAs, staff, and several board members, we were lucky and proud enough to have several volunteers from the community as well. Debb Guard of Schenectady and Cathy Keese, who responded following Hurricane Irene, were a great help and source of insight.
Those in attendance took different roles: A number of them became staff members for the VRC, manning stations such as entrance interview, security briefing, data entry, phone bank, and volunteer ID. The rest went through the center pretending to be volunteers. This exercise helped us test the standard operating procedures we’ve been developing for more than a year now. Overall, the exercise went very well.
SALT thanks those who came to support us and the community through better preparedness practices!