My grandparents have been Disaster Action Team members for the Red Cross for about 10 years, and they get questions all the time about how a person can join. Due to this, I would like to go through how you can become a DAT team member as well as the things you will need to do in order to get accepted. There are many other ways to volunteer with the Red Cross, but working for DAT gives you the opportunity to assist others all across the United States.
What do DAT members do?
If you are interested in becoming a Red Cross DAT volunteer, one of the first things you probably want to know is what they do. It’s a good question that my grandparents tend to get a lot, and for the most part they work to provide assistance for families during fires and other natural disasters. This usually happens within the county jurisdiction, but in rare cases like during hurricane Katrina or the recent storm in New Jersey, you will be called to provide assistance. You have to have a flexible schedule and you have to represent the Red Cross in a respectful manner no matter what you may encounter while on a disaster.
How do you become a DAT member?
When I was considering becoming a DAT team member before I went to college on of the first things my grandparents told me was that you would have to go through training and pass test in order to become one. This is so that the Red Cross can assure compliance and regulation with all laws and only in rare circumstances like Katrina or otherwise will they ask untrained persons to assist them. Positions are usually filled up quickly, but you can sign up by visiting your local Red Cross or calling the Red Cross toll free at (713) 313-1608 for additional information. If you are not able to make your Red Cross offices normal hours you can completion your application process by going to the Red Cross website.
Responsibilities and Requirements
All Red Cross volunteers, regardless of the area in which they volunteer, will be given a vest and a name tag to wear. This is to protect not only the Red Cross and you, but to also assure those who you will be assisting that you are who you say you are. Additionally, no matter what type of disaster you are on you will be required to fill out paperwork and ask those you are assisting important questions. This paperwork has to be with you at all times and you also have to have a backup number that you can be reached encase the DAT phone is not operational. You will not drive your own vehicle to the fire or disaster, but rather a specialized vehicle containing all necessary supplies that the Red Cross volunteers call the Emergency Response Vehicle or ERV for short. If you are working with a group member you will have to pick them up first and then head to the fire or disasters location. You are also responsible for issuing supplies and assistance that is customary for particular disasters.
Should I sign up to be a DAT team member?
The first thing you will need to do is decide if this is the area you would wish to volunteer. There are many other areas within the Red Cross that you can volunteer that are far less demanding and stressful. Being a DAT team member carries a lot of responsibility and it can also carry a lot of stress because you are dealing with families who have just lost their homes or worse. You have to be able to keep your composure under the pressure and provide the very best assistance possible. You will also be required to take the DAT phone home with you if you are on call and be prepared to go to a fire if it occurs. There have been times when my grandparents have had to leave their house to go on a fire at three in the morning and this happens more often than not. Being on call is much like being a doctor or a fireman; you have to be ready to go at any time and from anywhere. To avoid any complication or added stress, sign up for times that you know you can easily fulfill and in which you have no other obligations.