Hello from your friendly, neighborhood DAT Volunteer!
Oh, you don’t know what a DAT Volunteer is? Well, let me tell you! Because once you know, you might want to become one, too!
DAT is one of the many acronyms that the American Red Cross uses, which stands for Disaster Action Team. The quoted purpose of a Disaster Action Team Volunteer is to “assist the Red Cross in delivering its mission to provide relief to victims of disaster and help prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies”.
Sound exciting? It is! Even more so than the technical definition of it!
In real world terms and my very limited experience, basically a DAT Volunteer is a member of an elite, covert (okay, we’re note elite or covert, but it sounds so much more secret agent that way) group of Red Cross volunteers who are trained to go out to any type of disaster and assist those in need. In my area, the most common disaster that we are called out to is fires. When someone loses their belongings or their entire house to a fire the Red Cross DAT volunteers are there to provide basic needs – food, shelter, and clothing.
It’s a very hands on and exciting group to be a part of. The volunteers that I’ve worked with so far are amazing. We are on-call whenever we sign up to be, meaning that if we can get called whenever the fire happens, if that’s 5 PM or 3AM. But, most of all, the rewarding part of being a member of the DAT volunteers is that you feel that you are out on the front line helping someone who, at that very moment in time, needs someone. And you are that someone who can help them.
So, is this a recruitment blog post to try to get others to join DAT? Sure! I’m sure your local chapter of the Red Cross needs DAT members as much as mine. But, in reality, not everyone is made up to be a DAT member. From my understanding, there are things that can be hard to deal with when you are responding to fire and other disasters. So, if you don’t feel that DAT is your gig, volunteer your time to the American Red Cross in other ways, there are so many things that they need help with that I’m sure they could find something that you’d enjoy.
So.. go volunteer! With the Piedmont Red Cross or another agency you feel is important… it’s for a great cause and for me personally, it’s brought me a huge sense of pride to be able to do so and I hope it does the same for you.