On November 15, four volunteer groups under the umbrella of the Salem County Department of Health and Human Services and the Salem County Sheriff’s Office will take part in an emergency shelter training and full shelter set-up exercise.   

Salem County’s Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) along with the Domestic Animal Sheltering Team (DASH) and Disaster Response Crisis Counselor (DRCC) will work together to set-up and process clients through a shelter training. Representatives from the Health Department, Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Management, which is under the Sheriff’s Department and Red Cross, will participate in this critical training.  

“Recent natural disasters highlight the need to be prepared for response. Volunteers in these four groups are trained to be deployed to assist in a variety of ways, including sheltering operations in Salem County,” said Freeholder Director Robert Vanderslice. “Our volunteers train every month in some facet of public preparedness and emergency response.”

MRC-CERT Volunteers will be trained in how to set up and break down all the components of an emergency shelter. Volunteers from DASH will be conducting an intake of animals during the exercise, utilizing their emergency response trailer. DRCC volunteers also will be conducting an onsite training, assisting victim “actors” with crisis counseling. In a real emergency all groups will be working together just like this.

“Volunteers will be a crucial part of any shelter operations here in the County,” said Sheriff Charles M. Miller. “Our Office of Emergency Management’s desire is to build and strengthen volunteer numbers, and provide needed training. We are also working to improve public-private partnerships that are crucial to emergency preparedness, response, recover, and mitigation. All of which in return support our mission to protect life and property.”

In the last ten weeks, the Red Cross, along with community and government partners, has provided 1.3 million (1,360,000) overnight stays in emergency shelters. That is more overnight shelter stays than the past 5 years combined. Shelters were opened in eight states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This includes—

  • For Harvey, more than 435,000overnight shelter stays in Texas and Louisiana.
  • For Irma, more than 648,600overnight shelter stays across six states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • For Maria, more than 277,000overnight stays in primarily government shelters across Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for any of the volunteer groups mentioned above, please contact Andrea Godshall at Salem County Department of Health and Human Services at MRC@salemcountynj.gov or (856) 935-7510 ext. 8482. You may also contact Robert DiGregorio at the Sheriff’s Emergency Management Office at rdigregorio@salemcountynj.gov, (856) 769-2900 ext. 4118. You can also visit our websites at www/health/salemcountynj.gov and www.readysalem.org.