A matching grant was approved from the Larson Foundation of Brookings and the Sioux Empire Red Cross must first raise an equal amount of $10,000 before the grant is to be awarded and training is scheduled.
Training is scheduled to occur in Vermillion.
The program is aimed at getting volunteers in 30 or so communities within the 10 counties so a Red Cross response can occur more quickly, especially when weather and road conditions could delay a response from Sioux Falls. There are currently 145 trained disaster volunteers of the Sioux Empire American Red Cross residing in Sioux Falls.
"Tornado Tuesday of 2003 and the snow/ice storms of 2005 delayed a response from Sioux Falls to other communities where disasters hit, due to the weather conditions," said Sioux Empire Red Cross CEO Jeff Stingley. "We want to be more proactive and better prepared by having local volunteers throughout our area who can more quickly respond to a tornado, or a house fire, before volunteers and equipment from Sioux Falls are able to respond, if needed."
The 10 counties include Clay, Lincoln, McCook, Minnehaha, Moody, Turner, Bon Homme, Charles Mix, and Gregory, as well as Yankton, which the Sioux Empire Chapter administers. Training will occur in each of the counties with Sioux Empire instructors teaching the classes over a weekend at each location. The new volunteers will receive over 20 hours of disaster training as well as CPR and First Aid training during the weekend classes.
There is no cost for the volunteers to take the training.
Once the match of $10,000 is generated in a direct mail campaign to businesses and individuals in the 10 counties, volunteers will be recruited and training scheduled. If someone wishes to donate to this project, checks should be written to Sioux Empire Red Cross Disaster Volunteer Project.