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Volunteers needed for Harwich emergency drill

BARNSTABLE (MA) September 24, 2015 – Volunteers are needed to role-play and be interviewed at the Harwich Community Center on September 30, 2015.

After disasters, well-meaning, civic-minded volunteers will often swamp emergency relief agencies seeking an opportunity to help. In the past, this has led to agencies spending precious time trying to deal with the “spontaneous volunteers” instead of helping the victims.

To mitigate this effect in Barnstable County, the Cape Cod Citizen Corps Council has developed Volunteer Reception Centers (VRCs) for the Upper, Mid, and Lower Cape.

A VRC is an integrated disaster response operation where volunteers are registered, interviewed and referred to local agencies to assist with relief efforts. A VRC provides an immediate staffing resource to fill a potentially critical volunteer need in times of emergency and disaster. It also channels the energies of well-meaning volunteers in a focused manner with the proper safeguards in place.

Barnstable County emergency planner Amy Atali said, “Key to this training is the simulation drill where staff members welcome, receive process and place spontaneous volunteers. We are looking for volunteers to play the role of “volunteers” in order to exercise the Lower Cape VRC location and staff”.

Volunteers, who must be 18 or older, will be needed from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 30. They must be willing to spend between 30 to 60 minutes as a “walk-through volunteer applicant” responding to a regional emergency. To make the training more realistic, volunteers are asked, if possible, to assume the characteristics of someone other than themselves.

In the fall of 2014 the Council held a staff orientation and training session at the Mid Cape VRC located in the Open Cape building at the Barnstable County Complex.

The VCR training for the Upper Cape was held at the Mashpee Wampanoag Community and Government Center on April 29, 2015.

The Lower Cape VRC session on September 30, 2015, at the Harwich Community Center will complete the Barnstable County VRC training program.

Anyone interested in helping is asked to come to the Harwich Community Center from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 30th. For questions, contact Amy L. Alati, Chairperson of the Cape Cod Citizen Corps Council at 508-375-6908 or Email