VOAD is here to help others

Published 10:16 am Tuesday, February 8, 2011

In Shelby County, we have several entities involved in disaster response. Coordination between these agencies and organizations is critical.

Following national and state models, Shelby County has put together Voluntary Organizations Active; in Disasters. VOAD is a group of community organizations working together to be prepared when disasters strike Shelby County, reduce the effects of disasters and promote the rebuilding of lives and communities after disasters. This cooperative effort has proven to be the most effective way for a wide variety of volunteers and organizations to work together during a crisis.

Having an active VOAD chapter at the county level enables organizations to better meet the community’s needs because the stakeholders and their resources are identified ahead of time. This helps to accelerate the speed and impact of volunteer organizations. The ultimate goal of the VOAD is smooth collaboration that results in providing organized and beneficial service during a disaster.

The VOAD includes representatives from the following agencies and organizations: Shelby County American Red Cross, Children’s Policy Council, Chilton-Shelby Mental Health, Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama, Hands on Birmingham, Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging (M4A), North Shelby Baptist Church, Salvation Army, Shelby Baptist Association, Shelby County Amateur Radio, Shelby County Board of Education, Shelby County Chaplains Association, Shelby County Dept. of Human Resources, Shelby County Emergency Management, Shelby County Family Resource Center, Shelby County Juvenile Court, Shelby County Dept. of Public Health, Shelby Emergency Assistance, Shelby Humane Society, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and United Way of Central Alabama.

Shelby County VOAD would like to remind everyone that now is the time to prepare for disasters. Once a disaster strikes, it is too late. Reduce your risk by preparing now. Your disaster preparedness kit should include: water, non-perishable food, a flashlight, medications, important personal documents and first-aid supplies.

VOAD wants you to know that, in the event of a disaster, assistance will be made available to the public in the most efficient and effective way possible.

Mary Kinard is the executive director of the Shelby County Red Cross and the VOAD chairperson.