SCARS is works directly with the Central and Southwest Chapter of the Oklahoma Red Cross. A number of our members are members of the local and national Disaster Action Teams (DATs). Additionally, many SCARS members provide services for the Red Cross on an as needed basis, without any requirement to be a Red Cross member. Previous local engagements have included flooding in the 10-mile flats area of west Norman, ice storms, tornadoes in Moore, Norman, Bridge Creek, and more, brush fires, Murrah building bombing, and even hurricane Katrina.
Joining the Red Cross has many training benefits. There are some tracts dedicated to communications, computers, and assisting on Disaster Relief Operations (DROs). Once you join the Red Cross team, there is a seven segment class that will train you as a Disaster Service Technician (DST). With this certification, you will be eligible to deploy on national DROs, deploy communication and networking gear, and gain experience at a national level. Information on joining the Red Cross is shown below.
On a national level, the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) and the American Red Cross have a Memo of Understanding that talks about how the Red Cross and local amateurs can work together in times of need, and in times of clear skies.
Joining the Red Cross
Like any other large organization, getting through the jargon and paperwork is the hardest part. Joining the Red Cross requires an application, a background check (that does NOT affect your credit rating), and a local assignment. We’ve documented the steps here and have provided direct links. While most of our team is from the Central OK area, these steps will work for any location in Oklahoma.
- First, fill out an application here, fill out the “Create a new Red Cross ID” section on the right.
- You’ll get a login, and set your password for future connections. They list six steps to get connected that include verifying your email, agreeing to a background check (that does NOT affect your credit rating) and a telephone interview. When asked about what section you would like to join, you should state the Disaster Action Team or Disaster Service Technician. Once you get to the telephone interview, you can tell them that you’d like to be part of Mark Kleine’s Amateur Radio Communication team.
- This process will take some time, typically a week or so. Be patient.
- Your volunteer connection will have a ‘first class’ that teaches you about the online system, and a bit about the Red Cross.
- If you have any questions, contact Ed Hatch AG5DV or Mark Kleine N5HZR.
New Volunteer Orientation Video
If you would like more information on the history and operation of the Red Cross, they have a 45-minute orientation video that you can view here.
Signing in to Volunteer Connection
The Red Cross uses the web to track the contact information on each volunteer, and the training each person has received. Additionally, most of the classes are provided free and online through packaged classes or instructor-led webinars, like the Disaster Service Technician (DST101) series.
The main entry point for this system is volunteerconnection.redcross.org. Here you can track your volunteer hours, connect to the rest of the team, and obtain your training.
Monthly Disaster Team Meetings
If you would like to get more involved with the Norman Disaster Action Team (DAT) and provide service during floods, fires, smoke alarm installations, and more, feel free to attend the monthly DAT meetings. These meetings are held on the third Thursday of the month at 6:00 pm. These meetings are held at the Norman Red Cross, 1205 S. Halley Dr, Norman, OK.