American Red Cross seeks more community participation

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COLUMBIA - The American Red Cross hosted its first day of Disaster Training Institute Wednesday at Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center in Columbia. The Disaster Institute offers classes over a span of four days from June 22-25. 

"This is actually the first year that we are doing this because a lot of our training have gone online," Chris Harmon, the regional disaster officer of the Eastern Missouri Region's Red Cross, said. "They really want to put emphasis on some classroom training."

According to the American Red Cross, a total of 140 volunteers from around the state have registered to take advantage of this rare opportunity to take high-level classes. 

Harmon said the first day of the training lesson aimed to teach volunteers how to work together and do a better job.

"We are all able to come together, brainstorm, talk about how we can collaborate more, then what we also do is to talk about how we can collaborate more with our partners, like comes the disaster response," Harmon said. 

Harmon said they also taking lessons learned from responses from some disasters like floods and tornadoes. The lessons are also offering people an opportunity to network and know each other better. 

"When a disaster does happen, we all will be working together," Harmon said. 

Sharon Kroese, a new volunteer from Branson, Missouri, said the training lesson offered her a great opportunity to interact with other volunteers and learn procedures of things they need to do. 

"There is always the need for people to respond and react to crisis or disasters, and this is a good opportunity for us to learn who we need to deal with," Kroese said. 

Harmon said different lessons will be offered during the four-day training.