Signing up to volunteer for Citizens Assisting Citizens (CAC) is an easy decision, even donating is easy. If you have not signed up, please do so HERE. Waiting for your application to be processed is not. This article will guide us through what we can accomplish while we wait. Whether you want to be the first wave of highly trained system of Scout Anchor and Feeder volunteers, or you want to contribute to the national logistical network of professional fundraisers and community leaders that we are developing, here is a guide to the next steps the training you will need and some you will want.
In order to make the impact we know we can in those first hours and days of a disaster, we will need to gain the respect and support of the already existing professional emergency responders like EMTs and local law enforcement, as well as the Federal agencies like FEMA and the Red Cross. They have their own duties to perform, and we want to ensure them and the citizens we hope to assist, that we can be an effective tool towards overcoming the tragedy that has befallen the community.
To do this, in addition to background checks, every volunteer who wishes to be deployed is being required to complete a minimum number of specific disaster relief training classes. In the future this training may come directly from CAC developed courses. Today, however, we have educational resources already available to us that will not only provide solid training, but because they come from the same organizations we will be working alongside, completing this training will help other responders understand that we respect their methods and their skill sets, and wish only to become another component towards recovery.
The CAC leadership team has selected the following training courses, which are available free online, as our Minimum Training Requirements. No matter what skill level an individual may already be at, our team will be unified with this common knowledge base. We can complete them now, while we wait for applications and background checks, etc. The courses provide certificates of completion which can be forwarded as soon as you receive them, to your specific Coordinator who will keep track of who is and isn’t certified.
CAC Minimum Training Requirements
One additional request is being made for front line volunteers that may be deployed as Scout or Feeder vehicles, and that is first aid. CAC is not and will not be in the business of dispensing medical assistance for all the legal and liability reasons, however, some basic medical knowledge can be important to the scenarios we may encounter. The ability to identify potentially serious medical conditions like broken bones and symptoms of shock may save lives. Two agencies are listed below for first aid courses, but any equivalent training will be accepted.
Even if being part of the Scout Anchor/Feeder system of rapid response is not our area of interest or feasible with our other commitments, the above training, especially the online FEMA courses can help in order to have the same knowledge base behind the scenes as our front line volunteers do.
In order for CAC to succeed, we will also need a network of Public Relations volunteers. These individuals, (who could also be Scout Anchor/Feeder volunteers) will be in communication with our regional coordinators and could act as a go-between for more localized branches of law enforcement and disaster relief. We may be in charge of setting up County/State Fair booths, driving both awareness and volunteer sign-up with fair-goers, but also scheduling other CAC volunteers to man the booth itself. It could mean piggybacking on other preparedness training in your area such as Red Cross First Aid classes (with approval by trainer) in order to give a 5 minute intro to class members on who we are and what we hope to accomplish. A few resources for individuals interested in this essential but non-emergency educational development are listed below.
Other Sources of Training and Education
National Council of Nonprofits
ASAE Center for Association Leadership
Knowledge is invaluable, and as we train for CAC, you may find a hunger for even more. Below are some additional preparedness training resources, educational opportunities, and organizations that can strengthen our commitment to our families and communities. This is by no means an exhaustive list.
The Survival Podcast
The National Association for Amateur Radio
Civil Air Patrol
National Ski Patrol
National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster
National Association for Search and Rescue
The International Rescue Committee
We all know CAC can do great things, and we are attempting to grow from nothing to something powerful and professional seemingly overnight. What we will accomplish together will change and possibly even save lives.
If you know of any other training opportunities you’d like us to add, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org with “CAC education” in the subject line.