Red Cross trains volunteers to help in emergencies such as Hurricane Harvey

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The American Red Cross is teaching classes all over North Carolina so they can send a large group of volunteers to Texas to help out with Harvey relief efforts.

They are training volunteers across the county, including here in the east, on all the logistics of a disaster response so they are prepared for anything that comes their way.

“We have these wonderful people who showed up and they want to help out in Texas,” disaster program manager Rich Burke said.

Some who attended the class say the disaster hits home for them.

“I know what the people across the country did for North Carolina last year, and I want to pay back,” volunteer Mary O’Bryant said.

O’Bryant said she had the opportunity to work alongside volunteers during Hurricane Matthew last year.

This year, she is worried about her daughter who currently lives just outside of Houston.

“They are at risk for the levee breaching there in the area so she has been evacuated since Monday to a friend’s house,” O’Bryant said.

While she is concerned for her family, she knows there are others in greater need.

“I don’t see it so much as helping my daughter because she will be okay, what I am hoping to get from this class is basically just to reinforce the expectations not only from the Red Cross, but for human mankind,” O’Bryant said.

The class teaches basic skills such as sheltering and food rehabilitation, so people can go to Texas and relieve volunteers already on the ground.

“Some of the skills we are teaching here today are, how do we get there, how do we address a family that’s lost everything,” Burke said.

O’Bryant said in the meantime, she wants Texans to know people are training around the clock to make sure they are effective when they land in the Lonestar State.

“With the folks in Texas, they know we care, and they know that help is on the way,” O’Bryant said. “Stay strong.”

The first step to volunteering is applying online and attending several training classes.

The Red Cross said it is important for people to know that volunteers will be deployed for about two weeks, but it will not cost anything other than your time and talent.

You can sign up on their website.

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