Disaster Training Available for Mid-Missouri Volunteers

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COLUMBIA - In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing and the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion, many volunteer organizations are offering emergency training in mid-Missouri.

The American Red Cross chapter in Columbia offers training courses for volunteers to learn about all elements on how to respond to a disaster.

Training involves courses on client case work, assessing damage, shelter operations and how to solicit donations.

Red Cross Community Market Manager Clayton Kennedy said, "If there is a large scale disaster that requires a lot of volunteers, people in Columbia can be sent to the location to offer aid."

Just recently, many Columbia volunteers were sent to southern Illinois in response to help victims of the flooding.

The Boone County Fire District is also looking for volunteers who are committed to the Boone County area.

Captain Josh Creamer said, "Right now, the fire district is in the middle of a recruitment campaign, looking for additional volunteers throughout the county."

The Fire District currently has 258 members and is looking to increase the number to take off the weight and burden from its current volunteers. Prospective firefighters will have more than 200 hours of firefighter training for about three months.

Firefighter Patrick Hanks said his experiences make him feel proud to be a volunteer.

"I love the whole aspect of firefighting," Hanks said. "I love the rescues and the EMS portion. I'm constantly learning and preparing for pretty much anything that can happen."

You can apply to be a volunteer with the Boone County Fire District here.

All training sessions with the American Red Cross are free. You can donate or apply to be a volunteer here or call the Columbia Red Cross office at 573-445-9411.