By CLINT FOSTER
The Palo Pinto County Disaster Relief Team is set to hold a new training event this month, both for current and prospective members.
DRT Coordinator Cindy Maness said this latest training session will be held Jan. 25 at the Steve Perdue Training Center on South Oak Avenue in Mineral Wells.
Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. that morning and Maness said the event will probably last until about noon.
New members must pay a $10 fee to cover a background check, after which point Maness said they can purchase official DRT t-shirts.
She added the training session will primarily cover general information about how the local DRT got started and what all they do.
“Our motto is, ‘Coordinating, resourcing and responding in times of crisis or disaster and proclaiming hope through Jesus Christ,’” she said. “We want to be proactive and prepare for things, rather than wait until the last minute.”
2013 was a big year for the DRT. Over the twelve months, Maness said they served meals to firefighters at five different fires, got water to two locations dealing with shortages in Strawn and North Possum Kingdom Lake and even assisted County Fire Marshal and Emergency Management Director Buddy Harwell in helping those stranded on Interstate 20 during the December ice storm.
Perhaps their seminal moment of last year, however, was when the Palo Pinto County Commissioners Court voted in May to name them the county’s official disaster relief team and Harwell’s liaison.
At that time, Maness explained to commissioners the importance of providing a central source of emergency response within the county.
“We work in conjunction with the county fire marshal,” she told commissioners, explaining previous well-intentioned efforts were often redundant as numerous volunteers visited the same local businesses on behalf of disparate organizations.
With the recognition of commissioners, she said, “We can go to businesses and say we’re the ones to deal with.”
With the high-profile recognition, Maness hopes to add to the current DRT team of over 30 members and make it more effective than ever before to do the most good around the county.
For more information, call Maness at (940)452-8990.