I first joined the Red Cross when I was living in Montana. I was looking for a way to get to know the area better and contribute to the community.
My profession is in oil spill response and incident management, and I wanted to leverage my emergency response skills to contribute on a service level.
The local Red Cross chapter was such a welcoming group. That great relationship laid the groundwork for my continued association with the Red Cross DAT (Disaster Action Team) when I moved to Olympia a few years ago. I joined as a Duty Officer for the South Puget Sound DAT and as a Government Liaison.
As a Duty Officer, my job is to field incoming calls of incident reports, verify incident details, establish communication with first responders and the impacted individuals and families, and dispatch the local DAT team to respond. We have an amazing group of DAT members who travel throughout the South Puget Sound region to deliver aid and support. I assist them in gathering information, getting them to the incident scene, and releasing funds to support clients as they begin their disaster recovery.
Life can change in an instant. Disasters can be shocking and devastating to those that are directly affected. It’s gratifying to contribute in a small way by providing some positivity and order when people are most in need. I also benefit personally by expanding my crisis management capability to humanitarian aid, an area of disaster response that I wanted to be a part of.
Some volunteers deploy across the country, others provide vital humanitarian assistance to their neighbors and community at home. We will always need more volunteers like Lauren to bring the Red Cross mission to life. For more information on joining our ranks, please visit: RedCross.org