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Disaster Training Prepares Salvation Army Volunteers For Front Lines

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

Volunteers with the Salvation Army are preparing for severe weather season.

Almost a year ago, an EF2 tornado touched down in Sand Springs and tore through a mobile home park as it crossed the Arkansas River and hit parts of west Tulsa.

One person died and entire neighborhoods were lost.

Tulsa's Salvation Army worked on the front lines to help survivors.

The charity trains volunteers to provide food, water and other relief supplies as well as crisis counseling.

A classroom in Tulsa is where it all starts for the volunteers.

"The people who are here today are going to be learning the very basics of emergency disaster services, Salvation Army-style,” Salvation Army Maj. Jim Taylor said. “I mean, we're going to tell them the general things, but also with the Salvation Army mission in place. So they'll learn what we do, why do and how we do it.”

The Salvation Army can't stress enough how important it is for volunteers to get training for natural disasters, because today you have to have clearance to get inside the perimeter of a disaster scene.

“It used to be ‘come and show up and help out,’ now they want to know what your credentials are, what training you've had, they want to see your badge, so it's very important," Taylor said.

Ben Heaton hopes to be trained this season to be ready to respond to any emergency.

“I would like to be able to help out my neighbor if I can in a meaningful way," Heaton said. “I feel confident that, if I'm available, I can go that I would be able to go.”

The Salvation Army is plans to host another training session in April.


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