After a week of radio silence following my Mass Care/Sheltering training, I got an email from the Red Cross to show up for a DSHR briefing, ostensibly the last step before being deployed. So last Friday morning I and about 50 other people made our way to Red Cross HQ for the briefing.
Basically it was another two-hour PowerPoint presentation, going over issues we’ve covered before, like the mission of the Red Cross and the services they provide, and an introduction to the slew of paperwork required to be added to the DSHR team. The application itself isn’t too bad, just basic things like previous training, language skills, health history and the like, but the number of waivers, releases, consent forms, and other paperwork is truly daunting. There’s so much focus on the details of plane and rental car reservations, staff debit cards, intake forms, out-take forms, and the like that the reality of the situation in the Gulf is almost obscured. It’s as if with enough bureaucratic activity we’ll be able to rationalize our “clients'” lives back to normal.
Anyway, the upshot of it all is that I filled out and handed in my official DSHR application, informed them of my availability (now!), and was properly warned about the hardships to come, e.g., extreme heat, lack of toilet & shower facilities, poor accommodations, and the overall stressful environment. Sounds great to me. I’ll be sure to pack sunscreen, extra batteries, a first aid kit, and my own personal roll of toilet paper. So when do I get my 24-hour notice? I’ll be sure to let you know.
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update: BUY Karina Came Calling, the blog book I made of my Red Cross volunteer experiences. KCC is a limited-edition, 100 print-run, black-and-white, digest-sized, saddle-stitched, 102 pp. booklet. All for $5, plus $2 shipping, via PayPal.