OTTAWA – The LaSalle County Emergency Management Agency will host a Volunteer Open House as part of Volunteers in Preparedness & Response Month. The open house will take place on Sunday, April 22 from 9 a.m.-noon in Ottawa at the Emergency Management building, 711 E. Etna Road. The public is invited.
The LaSalle County Emergency Management Agency (LCEMA) has utilized volunteers for years and they currently work with several groups of volunteers who have specific skill sets to aid them in their response efforts. “It is because of our volunteers that we’re able to do everything we do during exercises, disaster response and long-term recovery. They’re a valuable asset not only to our agency but to the citizens of LaSalle County,” emphasized Connie Brooks, LaSalle County EMA Director.
LCEMA volunteer teams include the LaSalle County Animal Response Team (LaSCART) that assists with the care and welfare of animals immediately following a disaster and also participates in nuclear exercises for livestock food and water safety. The Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) team assists local law enforcement in the search for missing person(s) or evidence search.
The Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES) team is a group of amateur radio operators that can provide emergency communications in the event all other communications are down. They also participate in nuclear exercises to test communications among municipal and county emergency operation centers.
Skywarn volunteers are individuals who have completed the severe weather spotter class at least every other year. These volunteers spot from the safety of their own home and report what they see as weather systems move through LaSalle County - Skywarn volunteers are NOT storm chasers.
EMA Volunteers is a group of volunteer teams that cover areas such as Damage Assessment, Community Outreach, Logistics, Shelter Operations, Administrative Assistance, Communications and Spontaneous Volunteer Management teams.
The April 22 Open House will give members of the public an opportunity to talk with some of LCEMA’s volunteers about the work they do on the team(s) and learn more about training requirements and general expectations. Tours of the EMA building and equipment bays will also be available. Individuals interested in volunteering in some way will also have the opportunity to complete an application onsite.
For more information or questions, please contact the Emergency Management Agency office at (815) 433-5622 or e-mail [email protected] Information is also available on their website at www.lasallecountyema.org.