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Deloitte Impact Day Trains More Than 75 Employees in Shelter Operations
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By Caitlin Cobb, American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter
July 25, 2010

It becomes increasingly important for corporations in the Bay Area to partner with organizations such as the Red Cross and prepare their employees in the event of a disaster or emergency. In 2007, the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter launched Ready When the Time Comes (RWTC) a program that allows organizations to give back to the community by empowering employees to act as disaster relief volunteers during a major local disaster.

The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter recently participated in Deloitte Impact Day, a day of community service where Deloitte employees are given the opportunity to work with several nonprofit organizations on a variety of projects.

Thirty Red Cross volunteers presented shelter operations training to 78 Deloitte employees from the consulting and tax and audit groups.

“The Red Cross was a popular option for Deloitte employees to spend their day of volunteering,” said Aaron Litwin, disaster manager for the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter and RWTC trainer.

Throughout the day, Red Cross volunteers set up an environment to train Deloitte employees on how to operate and manage a disaster shelter.  When a major earthquake or other disaster strikes the Bay Area, there will be an immediate need for shelters and shelter workers. Deloitte Impact Day was an opportunity to educate Deloitte employees about the severity of shelter needs following a disaster, as well as offer them a chance to give back to their community.

The day also included a role-playing element, where Deloitte employees acted as shelter workers and residents, and after debriefing, switched roles. This exercise simulated for participants what a real-life disaster might entail.

Monica O’Reilly, partner in enterprise risk services at Deloitte and Touche LLP and American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter board member agreed that it was important for Deloitte to partner with the Red Cross.

“The safety and preparedness of our employees is of utmost importance to our firm. We are grateful that we are able to partner with the Red Cross for this Ready When the Time Comes training and other events to make sure that not only are our employees personally prepared, but they are also prepared to help the communities in which they live and work,” O’Reilly said. 

The event also featured several guest speakers throughout the day, including a representative from the mayor’s office of disability. They discussed how to interact with those who had special needs in a shelter.

Deloitte Impact Day served as a great learning experience for Deloitte employees, and it was also a reinforcing experience for Red Cross volunteers.

“We were able to work in a non-stressful environment where we could practice some of the more complex situations that would arise in a shelter situation,” Litwin said.

The more employees that get trained now with Ready When the Time Comes, the safer our Bay Area community will become.

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