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Volunteer Reception Center drill a success

BARNSTABLE (MA) October 1, 2015 – On Wednesday, September 30, 2015, the final training session for the Cape Cod Citizen Corps Council Volunteer Reception Center (VRC) program was held at the Harwich Community Center.

The concept behind the VRC is that 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 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.

In Harwich, after a morning training session, VRC staffers engaged in a simulated activation by screening community members who came in to play the role of volunteers.

Barnstable County emergency planner and Cape Cod Citizen Corps Council chairperson Amy Alati said, “Key to this training is the simulation drill where staff members welcome, receive, process and place spontaneous volunteers. We would like to thank the 35 people who braved the windy and rainy weather to put the finishing touches on our training.”

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 VRC training for the Upper Cape was held at the Mashpee Wampanoag Community and Government Center in April of 2015.

The Lower Cape VRC session at the Harwich Community Center completed the Barnstable County VRC training program.

Anyone interested in learning more about VRCs should contact Amy L. Alati, chairperson of the Cape Cod Citizen Corps Council at 508-375-6908 or e-mail