Red Cross provides volunteer training for disasters

Volunteers came to American Red Cross' Zero to Hero training session in Grand Rapids on Sept. 6, 2017.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Tammi Murphy has always been one to get involved.

“I volunteer at Kids Food Basket as well, and then I volunteer at Family Promises.” Murphy said.

But she wants to do more, and the American Red Cross fills that need.

“I love giving back and being able to help someone.” Says Murphy, one of 48 volunteers that took part in Red Cross Zero to Hero training in Grand Rapids Wednesday.

The program provides all hazards training for new volunteers, and helps identify a volunteers individual skills and how they can be best put to use.

While recovery efforts from Harvey continue, shelters are already being set up in Florida in anticipation of Hurricane Irma.

The new volunteers could be pressed into service within days.

Not only does the Red Cross identify their skills, but their ability to deal with the emotional impact of a deployment as well.

“You’re meeting people, one story after another of the devastation they’ve experienced, and the chaos that’s going on around them,” said Nikki Salladay with Red Cross of West Michigan. “It can be a very high stress environment and that’s not for everybody.”

But Salladay said there are still a number of opportunities for volunteers who don’t want to be in the thick of things.

“There’s a lot of ways people can volunteer and get without having to necessarily be in that high crisis, high anxiety sort of environment,” said Salladay.

For volunteers like Tammi Murphy, need overcomes emotions when it comes to dealing with families who’ve lost everything.

“I don’t like to see people suffer,” she said. “So I just feel like I’m needed to do something to help. “

Those interested in volunteering can call Salladay at 616.456.8661 or email her at