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Salvation Army offers Disaster Services Training

The 2021 hurricane season is here, with Tropical Storm Fred making its way up through Cuba, with the potential to reach Georgia this week. To ensure the community is prepared for such events, the Salvation Army will be hosting Emergency Disaster Services Training next week, offering classes on Thursday on Friday.

“In preparedness for the 2021 hurricane season, which has already started, we are trying to build a team that could possibly serve in this area if needed,” Salvation Army director Merreann McDonald told the Post-Searchlight. “We just want to be on the front end of having people adequately trained through the Salvation Army, so that if the call comes, everybody has the certifications needed to jump on the wagon and go.”

In 2018, the organization hosted these classes, with about 30 people showing up; those certifications expire this month.

“Hence, we’re trying to renew those people’s certifications, as well as bring in any other community members that might want or be interested in helping,” McDonald said.

The Salvation Army classifies events such as tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes and pandemics as disasters; this will be covered in the first class, “Introduction to The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services.” The second class, “Safe From Harm – Level 1,” is according to McDonald, “to best protect the general population, so that people know boundaries, and understand lines that we do and do not cross.” The third course covers ServSafe® food handling, which is mandatory for anyone who wishes to serve food as part of relief. The fourth and final course will cover operation of the Canteen, the Army’s food truck capable of feeding 500 people.

“We have to maintain that at all times and have the necessary supplies,” McDonald said, “So we could also use a volunteer that helps us maintain, we could use a volunteer that works during the disaster, we could use a volunteer that helps with the stocking, that knows where the buttons are, because it has propane gas, unleaded fuel, and it has a generator.”

“We just want to be prepared,” McDonald said, “That’s the message I’m trying to get out. If this is something you might be interested in, then let’s figure it out, jump right in there and get these classes done.”

Classes will begin at 9:00 AM on Thursday and Friday. For registration and more info, visit www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org