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By: Bruce Swee

The Red Cross version of March Madness included eight pallets of IT equipment and over 40 volunteers descending upon Seattle, Washington from across the United States. The group and the gear came for what we believe is our largest Disaster Services Technology (DST) training to date.

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From March 7-9, volunteers from the Pacific Division and Southwest and Rocky Mountain Division had the rare opportunity to get their “hands-on” IT equipment in a non-disaster setting. The extensive three-day training was held at the Northwest Regional Headquarters in Seattle and focused on the latest, ever-changing Red Cross disaster appropriate technology.

Training covered networking, connectivity, communications, computer setup, satellite, radio, the Information Management System (TIMS), and all related components and information. The knowledge and experience learned here is a critical component for the success of the response to any moderate or major disaster.

As a member of the DST team since first taking the training in 2011, much has changed. I found this training better organized, more substantial and technically up-to-date. I experienced a more knowledgeable team, found difficult issues open for team solutions, and trainers willing to work with each and every one of us. I may have areas that need additional practice, but am confident that should the time come when I’m needed, I will respond the best I can.

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