2007-03-29 / News

Volunteers trained for emergency shelter

By Sam Bari

Police Chief Thomas Tighe and Nick Logothets, American Red Cross director of emergency services, field questions from volunteers taking a Red Cross emergency shelter certification class at Melrose School. Photo by Sam Bari Police Chief Thomas Tighe and Nick Logothets, American Red Cross director of emergency services, field questions from volunteers taking a Red Cross emergency shelter certification class at Melrose School. Photo by Sam Bari A class of 15 volunteers gathered at the Melrose school on March 21 to learn how to operate the emergency shelter at the school.

American Red Cross Director of Emergency Services Nick Logothets, a 20-year veteran of the Red Cross, taught the class with the assistance of Deborah Tanner, executive director of Seniors Helping Others (SHO) and a five-year Red Cross volunteer. Maintenance engineer Lewis Kitts gave the volunteers a tour of the school at the beginning of the class to familiarize them with the facility.

The session was the second in a series of five classes volunteers are required to attend for an emergency shelter to be Red Cross certified. The four-hour classes include indoctrination, first aid, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training, Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training, and mass care and shelter operation. An open shelter simulation is staged at the end of the course that covers all problems that could be encountered by emergency personnel.

The town's emergency management director, Police Chief Thomas Tighe, arranged for the classes so the emergency shelter could be Red Cross certified and rely on their resources and services. As director, Tighe reports to the state and works through the Red Cross to stock the container trailer where supplies are stored and to get reimbursed for supplies purchased by the town. The classes were made possible through a Rhode Island Emergency Fund grant. If all goes as planned, the shelter will be certified by this coming fall.

Last year a 150-kilowatt generator was purchased for the shelter for $42,845 from Milton Cat of Milford, Mass. with a federal Homeland Security grant that required the town to pay for its installation. The purchase of the generator was approved after the council designated the Melrose Avenue school as the town's primary shelter in any emergency resulting in the need for such a facility. Jack's Electric installed the unit for $16,290. The School Committee voted to pay for half of the installation from the school budget.

Volunteers are needed to staff the shelter, Tighe said. Anyone wishing to participate is encouraged to call Deborah Tanner or Kathy Rosum at 789-2362, or visit www.southernrivol.org on the Internet for class schedules, information, and registration.

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