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Red Cross needs local volunteers

American Red Cross volunteers leave the Riverside office to assist victims of Superstorm Sandy.
American Red Cross volunteers leave the Riverside office to assist victims of Superstorm Sandy.
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Updated: 9/27/2013 6:14 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Disasters can happen at any moment. That's why the Red Cross in Jacksonville is trying to make sure it has enough volunteers to help out.

"I've been doing it 20 to 25 years," said volunteer Jim Frank.

Frank knows how rewarding it is to volunteer and that's why he's teaching others to do the same.

"Volunteering is the core of everything, we owe it to the people," said Frank.

Red Cross leaders say now they need the help more than ever.

"We have disasters, on average, about 400 a year just in the local community," said Red Cross Community Manager Amber Bierfreund.

She said some people don't think about the local impact of Red Cross.

She said some instead think that the volunteers only help out in major disasters and get sent to other states, scaring some people away from signing up as a volunteer.

But Bierfreund said if you become a volunteer, you can help out right in your own neighborhood.

"We have other volunteers that only stay local. It's not mandatory you would go out -- it just depends. It's up to you," said Bierfreund.

Frank does both -- he volunteers locally and goes to help out in other states, completing more than 52 missions.

He said to become a "true Red Crosser" you need to go through training in multiple areas, such as logistics training, first aid emergency drills and Disaster Action Team (DAT) training.

Organization leaders said the more training you go through, the more disasters you can help out at.

"When I go out to a DAT fire and I give people assistance like clothing or housing and see the smile on their face, that gives you all the warm and fuzzies. It makes you feel like you did something and that's why I'm in the Red Cross," said Frank.

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