The American Red Cross is mandated by Congress to provide disaster relief services throughout the country. Every year fires, floods, tornadoes and other natural disasters affect over 1,500 families in the Massachusetts Bay area. Disaster Action Team (DAT) volunteers provide food, shelter, clothing and compassion on the scene. Volunteer caseworkers continue the recovery process by working with clients until their lives are resettled.
Our Disaster Action Team (DAT) is one of the few active college teams in the United States. In fact, Boston is the only city in the country where college students can be the only American Red Cross Disaster Services personnel
on call during the weekends. Our goal is to have fun while helping others, and we're always glad to welcome new team members!
The MIT DAT is a standard American Red Cross disaster relief team. We provide shelter, clothing, food, comfort and hope to people who have been displaced as a result of a disaster. Our most frequent call is to multi-family residential building fires, and we have an average of one call every day (more in the winter, fewer in the summer). The MIT DAT is on call from Saturday mornings at 8:00 am to Sunday mornings at 8:00 am, every weekend during the school year (long weekends and vacations are optional of course). Although DAT members are never absolutely required to be on call every weekend, it is important to the general public that our team is dedicated and ready to respond when needed. Therefore, we ask that you do not apply to join the team unless you can usually commit to being available for a few hours every weekend.
If you have scheduling conflicts which would prohibit you from committing to the MIT DAT weekend on-call period, we can put you in touch with another (non-MIT) team.
The MIT DAT is run by a combination of student and non-student Team Leaders. The Team Leaders contact the team every week to ask for availability during the following weekend. Depending on what time of day calls come in, the DAT may be led by either a student or non-student Team Leader. When a call is received, team members will be asked to meet the Team Leader at a prearranged location. The team will then respond to the call using one of the local Red Cross chapter's Emergency Response Vehicles. Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) are similar to ambulances, and Team Leaders are responsible for having an ERV on or near to campus during the team's on-call period.
(We always need more Team Leaders and ERV drivers. If you're interested, let us know when you apply!)
The Boston Chapter is located at 285 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA 02116. Volunteers can get to the Chapter by taking the T to the Back Bay Orange Line stop; the Chapter is right there. Look for the Red Cross flag.
To join the MIT DAT, you only need to do three things:
- Fill out an American Red Cross volunteer application packet.
- Sign up for CPR and First Aid classes, if you don't have current certifications.
- Take the required Disaster Services training classes. All classes, including CPR and First Aid, are free for disaster team members!
Once we receive your application packet, you will be added to our disaster mailing list, where you will get information about upcoming classes. Once you have taken the classes, just let the Team Leaders know, and you will be added to the list of active DAT members. If you pay close attention to the email we send you, and take your classes promptly, you could start to go out on calls in less than two weeks!