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New volunteer group supports emergency responders

September 20, 2018 News Extra

Steve Harding, Reinaldo Toro and Amy Wilson, members of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, train for disaster response with local Red Cross staff in Feb. 2018.

A new county volunteer group will provide aid in local disasters so that police, firefighters, EMTs and other emergency responders can concentrate on the important job at hand.

Upon a recommendation by Steve Bicehouse, the county emergency services director, the county commissioners at their Wednesday meeting approved an agreement with the Pennsylvania Volunteers to provide ancillary services in the instance of a disaster.

Bicehouse said in disasters like a flood, citizens often turn up offering to help out. While he appreciates their willingness to serve the community, Bicehouse said trained, vetted volunteers are needed.

While the volunteers, for example, would not enter a flooded house to rescue its occupants, they would set up shelter for those occupants or provide them with food or other necessities at the scene.

Bicehouse stressed that the services of the Pennsylvania Volunteers must be requested by the county emergency services department, and cannot deploy themselves.

The group has about 50 members who meet at 6 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the American Legion Post 778 in Lyndora.

More information and membership applications are available at www.pavolunteers.org.

Read the full story in the Butler Eagle