When a disaster strikes, who is it that gets the basic IT services that we’ve come to depend upon back up and running? The Disaster Services Technology team – a unique group of volunteers who deploy to a disaster response to set up communications technology!
The team provides the necessary infrastructure that a response may require, from internet capabilities (think: Safe And Well Services) to telecommunications (like an antenna based radio if cellular services are down).
“We can service everyone from a single user connection up to a whole site,” said Ed Finley, National Field Communications Engineer.
This week the team held a rare hands-on training at our Akron office. The three-day course is only offered once a year in each division. The training staff has already taught the course in Mobile, Ala.; Oakland, Calif.; and Austin, Texas. After Akron, they will head out to Tinton Falls, N.J.; Columbia, S.C.; and Minneapolis, Minn.
The course gives volunteers the opportunity to train on equipment that will deploy to a disaster response; such as laptops, cell phones, routers and satellites.
“Not only will students learn how to set-up and use the equipment, but also that there is a support system behind them that will help them get through the process and be successful,” said Ed.
Students at the Akron class hail from all over Ohio and the rest of the country – California, New York, New Jersey, Arizona, Florida, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, and West Virginia.
If you are interested in joining the Disaster Services Technology team, visit www.redcross.org/volunteer and sign-up to be a volunteer. You’ll go through a couple of basic Red Cross courses, including Disaster Services Technology Overview, and from there you’ll be able to train with some of the IT leaders who we are lucky enough to have living in Northeast Ohio before deploying.