This is an email I received from Keith Heinly, coordinator of Brevard Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster.  Should you be interested in attending these meeting contact Heinley.  You may call him, email or simply attend the upcoming meeting.

Dear Agency and Faith-Based Representatives,

I am resending this email to the membership of the Brevard Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), other agencies, and to the local faith-based organizations. For those who may not be aware, the Brevard VOAD is a non-dues affiliation of agencies, churches, and other not for profit organizations. The affiliation is active during disaster pre-planning through post disaster support by acting as a clearinghouse for disaster assistance.

We are presently in the process of revitalizing the Brevard VOAD through the development of two task groups; the VOAD Membership Committee and the VOAD Operations Task Group.  During these meetings we discussed the need to recruit and train Emergency Support Function – 15 (ESF-15) volunteers to serve at the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) before, during and after a disaster. Most of the training is completed online on the http://www.FEMA.gov web site. Volunteers will also receive E-Team software training provided by Brevard Emergency Management.  We also discussed the need to know who they will need to contact for specific requests such as debris removal, food assistance, clean-up kits, and installing tarps on roofs. During the meeting we identified many of those contacts, but we also identified some potential gaps in response.

We began developing a usable electronic database so that we can quickly access the names and the services needed. This database will be utilized at the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) during times of disaster. They will need immediate data to provide the response necessary to reduce the loss of life and human suffering, and minimize property damage. I realize that many of you have sent paper applications in the past, but this is a format that will provide easier access and a quicker response. I am asking that each agency, individual, and faith-based organization take a few moments and complete the Brevard VOAD Disaster Network Information survey monkey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BVDN. As you know, providing accurate information and maintaining communication are extremely important elements in disaster response and recovery. I want to express my appreciation to those who have already responded.

Your participation is very important for an effective response to a disaster. There are benefits to your agency, church, or faith-based organizational as well. As an example, we can assist you in maximizing your potential for reimbursement for volunteer hours spent in response to a disaster. You will also benefit from the training and resources provided by participating agencies. Coordination, communication and education will foster cooperation from all of our local resources.

You do not need to be an active member of the Brevard VOAD in order to respond. But, if you wish to attend the meetings, they are held at the BCC Solar Energy Center 1679 Clearlake Road, Cocoa, Fl. on the second Thursday of each month at 9 AM. The next meeting of the Brevard VOAD will be July 14, 2011. We look forward to your participation.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact Keith Heinly at kheinly@uwbrevard.org

Thank You,

Keith Heinly/  Manager, Community Impact /  United Way of Brevard
 937 Dixon Blvd., Cocoa, FL 32922  /  tel: 321.631.2740 / fax: 321.631.2007 /http://www.uwbrevard.org  

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