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Oxford Emergency Management to host training next Tuesday

When tornadoes ripped through the Pine Flat community in 2011, hundreds of volunteers flocked to the small community to offer help, whether it was cutting fallen trees or helping a family sort through what was left of their homes.

To keep volunteers organized and in places where they were needed most, a Volunteer Reception Center was established, ran also by volunteers.

On Tuesday, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, along with Oxford and Lafayette County emergency management services and Volunteer Oxford will host a VRC training from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. At the Oxford Emergency Management office on McElroy Drive, behind the fire station.

RSVP Director Arledia Bennett said the training is being offered to anyone who has an interest in making sure that if a natural disaster – such as a tornado — hits the local community, volunteers are prepared to accept spontaneous or unaffiliated volunteers who come to help.

“This is one of those types of training that you hope you never have to actually use,” Bennett said. “But it is very important that as a community, we have volunteers ready to help process other volunteers who are willing to help. It’s so much easier if we can get some people trained before anything happens, so that’s why we are holding this training.”

The training will provide a good understanding of how to process unaffiliated or spontaneous volunteers that are always willing to help. Volunteers will have to go through the sign-in process in order to be out to the areas that need the most help.

“Our community is always willing to help when the need arises — this is just one of those times when it helps to be prepared in advance for whatever may happen,” Bennett said. “That is why this training is so important and we are making sure as a community, we are prepared.”

OEM Coordinator Jimmy Allgood said the VRC also helps to track volunteer hours.

“We get credit from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) for those volunteer hours,” Allgood said.

The training is free and a light lunch will be provided.

For more information or to sign up for this training, please call the RSVP office at 662-232-2377 or e-mail RSVP at rsvp@oxfordms.net.