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VOAD coordinates response to disasters

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
January 26, 2008
— One of the organizations ready to help with recent Rock River flooding caused by ice dams is the Rock County and Stateline Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster.

Rob Wilkinson, Janesville, is vice chairman of the state VOAD and also is involved in the local chapter. He answered the following questions:


Q: What is VOAD?
A: It is a group of independent organizations that work with Rock County Emergency Management to coordinate the response to disasters. There is a national VOAD, state VOADs and local VOADs.
Q: Is the local VOAD helping with the recent flooding situation in Rock County?
A: Not yet. But VOAD will help if people need assistance recovering from flood damage.
Q: When did the local VOAD organize?
A: It’s been in existence for at least five years.
Q: Why is it important to have a VOAD in this area?
A: So community partners can train, prepare and become acquainted before disaster happens. VOAD also coordinates emergency response to avoid duplication of efforts by various agencies so they are making the best use of their funds.
Q: Can you provide an example of how this works?
A: If the American Red Cross responds to a disaster where families have been displaced from their homes, it could provide the temporary shelter while the Salvation Army furnishes the food. Instead of one agency using all of its money and manpower to do both, the costs and workload is shared.
Q: Did VOAD help August 2007 flood victims?
A: Yes. And Wilkinson has been leading that effort since the federal government declared 14 counties—including Rock, Jefferson, Green, Dane and Columbia counties—disaster areas.
Q: How can people help VOAD?
A: Wilkinson said VOAD needs to grow. And for that to happen, it needs service clubs, businesses and union members to get involved so they can share their expertise in their respective fields, such as fund-raising, donations and skilled trades.
PARTNERS IN DISASTER

Agencies linked through the Rock County and Stateline Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster are American Red Cross, Caritas, Critical Incident Stress Management/Chaplaincy, Rock County Public Health, ECHO (Everyone Cooperating to Help Others), Edgerton Community Outreach, First Call, Rock County Humane Society, Rock County Emergency Management, Retired & Senior Volunteer Program, Salvation Army, Stateline United Way, United Way of North Rock County, Voluntary Action Center, Volunteer Network.


HOW TO HELP

To connect with Rock County and Stateline Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster, call (608) 752-3100.


VOAD meetings are the second Wednesday of every other month. The next meeting is at 1:30 p.m. March 12 at the Rock County Job Center, 1900 Center Ave., Janesville.



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