April is Volunteers in Preparedness and Response Month and the La Salle County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) will host a volunteer open house from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday, April 22, at the Emergency Management building located at 711 E. Etna Road, Ottawa.
La Salle County EMA has several groups of volunteers who have specific skill sets to aid them in their response efforts. La Salle County EMA has utilized volunteers for years.
“It is because of our volunteers that we’re able to do everything we do during exercises, disaster response and long-term recovery; they’re a valuable asset not only to our agency but to the citizens of La Salle County,” said Connie Brooks, La Salle County EMA Director, in a press statement.
La Salle County EMA volunteer teams include a La Salle County Animal Response Team (LaSCART) that assists with the care and welfare of animals immediately following a disaster. They also participate in nuclear exercises for livestock food and water safety.
EMA’s Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) team assists local law enforcement in the search for missing person(s) or evidence search.
Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES) team is a group of amateur radio operators who can provide emergency communications in the event all other communications are down and they as well participate in nuclear exercises to test communications among municipal and county emergency operation centers.
Skywarn volunteers are individuals who have completed the severe weather spotter class at least every other year, spot from the safety of their own home and report what they’re seeing as weather systems move through La Salle County. Skywarn Volunteers are not storm chasers. EMA volunteers also include Damage Assessment, Community Outreach, Logistics, Shelter Operations, Administrative Assistance, Communications and Spontaneous Volunteer Management teams.
The April 22 open house will provide an opportunity to talk with some of the volunteers about what they do on the team(s), training requirements, and more. Tours of the EMA building and equipment bays will also be available. Anyone in attendance interested in volunteering will have the opportunity to complete an application onsite.