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New group seeks shelter sites, disaster volunteers

The Covington County Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster is still in need of volunteers willing to be trained and locations than can serve as shelters.

The group was created back in October after a harsh season of hurricanes.

“We created the group for if and when there’s a need for people to help assist with disaster,” Susan Harris, EMA Director and organizer of the group, said.

“So far, we have no designated shelters and 24 volunteers.”

There’s a large need for volunteers, Harris said.

“Twenty-four volunteers will not cover the whole county,” she said.

“Covington County is large and spread out.”

Training has begun for members, Harris said.

“The training we do is online, with a majority of classes through FEMA. They are all on an individual basis, so people can do that on their own time or pace,” she said.

“We will also be doing some in-house training.”

There are no requirements to be apart of the CCVOAD, Harris said.

“Anyone can join the group, just join and be willing to work.”

As for shelters, the CCVOAD has sent letters to churches within the county inquiring of an interest to become a shelter.

So far, none of the letters have been returned.

“We’re going to be going around the different communities to let people know what we’re doing, what we’re here for,” Harris said.

“We’re going to kick off a meet and greet in Opp, and hopefully more people will volunteer.”

There’s been a lot more inquiries on what the CCVOAD is doing, Harris said.

“There’s been a lot more excitement and eagerness to volunteer. We’ve recently made a Facebook page and that has helped get the word out,” she said.

Harris hopes by the next meeting they will have buildings volunteering as shelters.

“Each meeting we’ve gained more and more volunteers, I’m hoping by Jan. 23rd we’ll have shelters.”

The CCVOAD will have a meet and greet on Jan. 16, 2018, at the Opp Fire Department from 3 to 6 p.m.

The next full meeting will be on Tues., Jan. 23, at 5:30 p.m. at the Covington County Baptist Association.

“If anyone is the least bit interested, come one of our meeting,” Harris said.

“If you’re looking to be involved, just show up to one of our meetings or the meet and greet.”

To find out more information about the CCVOAD go to https://www.facebook.com/CovCountyEMA/ or call the EMA at 334-428-2670.