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Office of Emergency Management Seeks Volunteers for New Program

Hurricane Sandy starkly illustrated the need for more advanced planning and preparation for supporting the needs of elderly and disabled residents. To help improve Anchorage’s ability to assist the elderly and residents with functional and access needs, the Anchorage Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has created a brand new, unique program to provide personal care assistance in shelters and during evacuations.

“This program was developed as part of the larger inclusive planning efforts of the city to specifically meet the needs of the Anchorage community” explained Dawn Brantley, the creator of the program for the Office of Emergency Management.

The Functional and Access Needs Support Team, or FANS Team for short, are volunteer teams of personal care assistants trained to assist the American Red Cross in MOA designated shelters by:

  • Assisting with assessment of functional and access needs
  • Providing non-medical personal care assistance to shelter residents
  • Identifying service and equipment needs of shelter residents

“This new program is a key planning and readiness step to prepare to meet the functional and access needs of our shelter clients in the Anchorage community. We are excited for this new step in our partnership with the Municipality of Anchorage” stated Melissa Logan, Disaster Services Manager for the Red Cross of Alaska

FANS teams will also assist the MOA with the evacuation of medically fragile residents and residents with functional disabilities. This will include providing assistance with service animals and pets, loading required durable medical equipment on to paratransit vehicles, and assisting individuals in boarding paratransit vehicles.

To volunteer you must:

  • Be a currently employed, certified or licensed personal care assistant
  • Complete an application (available at muni.org/oem)
  • Complete the Red Cross Background Check
  • Complete the FANS Team training on January 19, 2013
  • Participate in the overnight shelter training exercise on January 26-27, 2013

Only 30 applicants will be selected for the first round of training. Training consists of an 8-hour classroom training followed by participation in a full-scale shelter exercise. MOA and the Red Cross will set up a fully operational shelter and will recruit up to 50 local residents to come and spend the night in the shelter and participate in the training exercise. These shelter clients will include a large number of Anchorage residents who have disabilities. During the exercise, the FANS Teams members will be tasked with providing care and assistance to senior and disabled individuals just as they would in an actual event.

Applications are being taken now for this new volunteer team. For more information and to download an application go to: muni.org/oem

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