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Salvation Army offering disaster response training this week

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WATERTOWN — In July, Watertown Salvation Army Lt. Summer Hough was one of many Salvation Army volunteers trained to respond to flooding emergencies in the Oneida/Herkimer area.

While many volunteers provided food, personal care items, cleanup kits, counseling and referrals for social services, Lt. Hough said, there were not enough people to help with that and other disasters. “We are always in need of a few more,” she said of disaster response-trained volunteers. “We’d love to see more community members.”

The nonprofit, 723 State St., will offer training workshops from 4 to 8 p.m. today, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Today’s course is, “Introduction to Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services,” a base course for volunteers. Participants will learn the disaster-response common language and how to respond in the community, and will get an overview of the Salvation Army’s mission and role in disaster work.

Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s classes will involve the Salvation Army’s “Incident Command System.” A recent agency news release says it “gives a general orientation to Incident Command within the Army and explains how the system is used to command, control and coordinate disaster relief operations.”

All classes are free and open to the public.

Christine Gray, spokeswoman for the Salvation Army’s Empire State Division, said about 30 disaster preparedness-trained Salvation Army volunteers were pulled from throughout the state to respond to the Oneida/Herkimer area flooding. The more people are prepared, the better they can respond to north country disasters, including ice or snowstorms, she said.

“We need volunteers all over,” Ms. Gray said. “There was one lady in Ogdensburg who was very active” during Hurricane Sandy.

The local Salvation Army is trying to reactivate an emergency disaster services program. The Empire State Division recently hired a new emergency services director, Stephanie Nicklas, to help rebuild or strengthen local Salvation Army disaster preparedness and response training programs.

To register for classes, call the Salvation Army at 782-4470 or visit http://wdt.me/PS9nDw.

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