NASHVILLE — The American Red Cross: Heart of Tennessee Chapter has announced the formation of a new partnership with the government of Rutherford County to execute a leave policy, which grants 15 days of additional leave to county employees who have been trained as Red Cross disaster volunteers, to participate in disaster response activities.
Per the direction of Rutherford County Mayor Ernest Burgess, an e-mail is being sent to all government employees informing them of the existence of this leave policy, and encouraging them to become trained as Red Cross disaster volunteers.
A similar announcement will be posted on a website for county employees.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to have the support of Mayor Burgess and the County Government,” said Brian Toll, emergency services director for the Heart of Tennessee Chapter. “The Red Cross relies on volunteers to respond to emergencies, but two major obstacles that we face in getting volunteers to help are that they aren’t aware of the need, and they can’t commit the time because they don’t have control over their work schedule. Rutherford County’s government is helping us to address both of these issues.”
He said many people usually want to get involved only after a disaster strikes, but the Red Cross encourages volunteers to become pre-trained to serve in specific roles, so that the organization can maximize efficiency and effectiveness during a relief operation.
The Red Cross has partnered with the county government to recognize and address this issue, in order to help Rutherford County become more prepared before the next major disaster strikes.
In addition, this structure is designed not to cause a strain on local government or reallocate any taxpayer dollars.