Recovering from a disaster can be a daunting task, for affected citizens and emergency aid workers alike. The road back to normalcy can take a long time and is often very confusing.
The REHAB95 Community Assistance Program (REHAB95) started in 2015 with the intent of providing timely assistance to CCFR’s professional firefighters on scene and to residents ‘after the fire’. REHAB95 is a volunteer-led program sponsored by Central County Fire & Rescue that provides timely assistance for both residents and emergency workers during local crises and emergency responses.
Volunteers for the program provide canteen service to firefighters and victim assistance services to the families affected by fire or other disasters. These services are provided to all the fire departments and districts within St. Charles county, over 400,000 residents in our county.
PURPOSE & MISSION
The Community Assistance Program has been created to:
- Provide immediate hydration and nutrition needs when required by emergency workers, especially those performing difficult work for long hours, sometimes in inclement weather; and
- Provide assistance for disaster victims to help them begin their recovery process.
This assistance may include, but is not limited to:
- After Disaster Guide informational booklet
- Personal hygiene kits
- Temporary shelter
- Baby supplies
- Pet supplies
- Referral(s) to other resources for longer-term needs
The REHAB95 program relies 100% on volunteers. Curently, we maintain a volunteer staffing of 30 personnel, ready to respond to emergencies at all hours of the day or night, in all types of weather.
In order to maintain our staffing level, we must periodically replace volunteers who have retired or left the team for various reasons.
EXPECTATIONS & REQUIREMENTS FOR VOLUNTEERS
CCFR has cultivated very high standards for safety and professionalism when dealing with the public or emergency workers on scene, standards which its volunteers are also expected to uphold. There is a system with Team Leaders who are are experienced volunteers that manage volunteers and incident responses including safety, supplies, and the reporting system.
- must be a resident of St. Charles county.
- must be at least 21 y ears of age.
- should be able to lift 40 pounds easily.
- are expected to attend at least 20% of the annual emergency incidents.
- must pass a comprehensive background check.
- are required to maintain a valid driver’s license and provide proof of insurance for their personal vehicle.
Incidents can occur any day of year, at any time of day. Volunteers may be asked to assist during periods of inclement weather and should anticipate being called into service during periods of extreme heat, cold, wind and/or precipitation.
Volunteers should be aware that:
- incidents usually last anywhere from one hour to six hours or more.
- there may be occasional exposure to drifting smoke
- volunteers will be operating within the “cold zone” on incidents. There may still exist some hazards to avoid (water from hoses, debris on the ground, etc.).
- AT NO TIME will volunteers be expected or allowed to enter any dangerous areas on scene.
Prior to being placed on the response roster, new volunteers must undergo mandatory training in several areas:
- Scene Safety
- Radio Etiquette
- Canteen Service
- Client Assistance
These classes are all held on one day, on a weekend, and it usually takes about 7 hours to complete. Upon completion, volunteers are issued uniforms and photo ID badges to gain access to emergency scenes.
When an emergency situation arises where the team is called out, volunteers are alerted via a telephone app message.
The REHAB95 program utilizes CCFR department resources to provide this aid. These resources may include:
- Marked fire department vehicles to transport supplies and personnel
- A trailer designed for the temporary securing of disaster victims’ personal belongings until another secure storage can be located
- Cambro coolers, ice, potable fresh water, Gatorade, coffee, hot chocolate, light snacks, paper goods
- Inclement weather clothing and items (parkas, rain coats, sunscreen, bug spray, etc.)
- During hot weather, misting fans, shade shelters, ice water and towels for dunking, seating, and a generator for creating a “cooling island”
- During cold weather, kerosene heaters and shade shelters for creating a “warming island”
Once the disaster is resolved, the volunteer staff are expected to return the resources to storage, and restock any used supplies to be ready for the next response.
All REHAB95 volunteers operating on any emergency incident scene operate solely at the discretion and direction of the Incident Commander on scene.
Your volunteering for this group is greatly appreciated by all persons involved in emergency mitigation as well as the victims. The intrinsic reward of handing a cold drink to a dehydrated firefighter or offering a blanket, kind word, or an ear to listen to the victims cannot be measured.
To apply for the REHAB95 team or for more information, CONTACT US.