Sign me up

So I’ve officially signed up to with the American Red Cross to be a disaster response dude. I’ve filled out my application, allowed them to do a background check on me, and I imagine I’ll be hearing back from them next week. The lady I talked to sounded pretty excited about my skills (the ones I volunteered were ham radio and IT). It sounds like they could really use that stuff during their national disaster responses. So there I go.

4 thoughts on “Sign me up”

  1. Here’s the thing about the Red Cross. Following the Katrina and Rita fiasco where money was embezzled they’re doing “mode of living” and credit checks on any new people. Screening doesn’t do half as much good as oversight and allows your personal information to be out and about in the “wild” should anyone happen to walk off with the right Red Cross laptop or hard disk. Looks like a juicy target to me, relief organization probably has relatively poor data security and the names and information for millions of donors and volunteers.

    The ARRL has launched a formal protest against this sort of behavior on the part of the Red Cross. Radio amateurs volunteer their time, knowledge, and resources to help in a crisis and shouldn’t be put under a microscope. There is very little potential for radio amateurs to be in contact with funds, let alone be in a position to embezzle them. I for one and willing to donate goods and blood to Red Cross, but until they get their crap figured out I’m going to be sticking with ARES/RACES/Skywarn/SATERN affiliations (of which I only currently hold one).

    But either way, congrats on moving forward with using your new skills to help people in need! It’s quite excellent and very exciting, isn’t it?

    Don’t forget, I’m running Net Control for the VoIP Hurricane net tonight at 00Z. It’s hosted on the WX_TALK conference, node number 7203. I hope to hear you check in tonight! And, I’ve already spoken to the schedule manager and he’s very excited about your interest, if it’s still there.

    Kevin,
    KB9WOB

  2. As the former manager of volunteer resources with the American Red Cross of the St. Paul Area Chapter and then with the newly formed Twin Cities Area Chapter. I take exception to some of the things stated in comment one (1). Personal data for your background check should have been entered directly into a secure website and is not lying around a local office unprotected. Local volunteer files should be maintained under lock and key with access restricted and controlled by volunteer resources. I admire the fact that you’ve signed up to volunteer and anticipate your skills may come in very handy in a future disaster. There is an amature radio group connected to the American Red Cross Twin Cities Chapter, I will try to get you their contact information so you can connect. I look forward to hearing about your assignments!

  3. Kevin, I hear (and share!) your concerns about protecting the privacy of my personal data. Personally, I would suspect that the American Red Cross is a lot harder target than many places you and I have our personal info, say like the Northland College business office, for one. I’d sure like to believe that the ARC’s data security is as strong as one would assume for a national multi-million dollar organization. Of course, keep in mind that there is no such thing as a completely secure data system. Anything built by man (as in Homo sapiens sapiens) can be broken by man.

    My background check was via “secure” website. But how secure is secure? And yeah, I did wind up giving permission for credit checks, among other things. Is that *really* necessary for me to help people in need? Maybe; maybe not. But here’s the way I look at it: I have a personal need to get started. Now. I don’t want to dilly-dally around, and sit through a few more disasters thinking about a credit check.

    The question your comments brought up for me is this: How do the ARC, Satern, ARES work together in times of crisis? It seems to me there is the potential for a whole lot of turf wrangling and confusion when the proverbial shit hits the proverbial fan and things need to happen *right now.* Which organization takes the lead to make sure people get help?

    And yeah, Dad, I look forward to hearing about my assignments, too.

  4. Forgot to mention in my above post that the comments made here and elsewhere reflect my own opinions and do not reflect the views of the National Weather Service, it’s employees, it’s volunteers, nor do they, in any way, reflect the views of any Skywarn organization, group, or individual other than myself.

    Kevin.

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