Red Cross in need of volunteers

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By Damon Lawrence

The Knoxville Area Chapter of the American Red Cross needs volunteers in Roane County to respond to the needs of people who have been the victims of a house fire.

“It is essential, because if we don’t have them then our services are delayed and people go without,” said Mary Beth Birge, director of disaster services for the Knoxville chapter. “These volunteers are everything to the victim.”

Birge said the Red Cross responded to almost two dozen fires in Roane County during the organization’s last fiscal year.

“We probably have about four volunteers in Roane County right now, but we are desperately needing some more,” Birge said.

In addition to fires, Birge said Red Cross volunteers also assist the needs of people who have been displaced because of disasters or severe weather.

“When people have disasters, whether they’re big or small, they just need a neighbor or someone who cares and is trained to come out and help them,” Birge said. “That’s really what we’re trying to do.”

Anyone interested in being a Red Cross volunteer should contact the Knoxville chapter at 584-2999. To become a volunteer you have to undergo a background check and participate in about eight hours of training.

“We’re very flexible in the training schedule and we’ll work that out with them,” Birge said.