Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Making Our Communities Safe - Janet Schoor, Ailid Ramos and Hector Pereira

For the past few days we've featured our dedicated Home Fire Preparedness volunteers going above and beyond to make this community a safer place.

Janet Schoor

Janet first got involved with the Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina.

“I thought it was time that I did something,” she recalled.

Since joining the Red Cross, Janet has volunteered with the call center and mass care, running shelters and giving out food. She was deployed twice to flooded areas in Iowa and upstate New York.

“Then when Sandy occurred, I just did whatever was needed,” she said.

These days, Janet volunteers for #GetAlarmedNYC on a daily basis. She talks to residents about the program, and sets their appointments. This is a critical piece of the process, explaining to clients that we’re providing not just alarms but also fire safety instruction and a plan to escape a burning home safely.

“I like doing the phone calls,” she says. “People are enormously grateful that the Red Cross is providing this service. Sometimes people even call me back and say, 'The team was here and they were fabulous.'”

She also is an incredibly reliable, friendly face at the staffing table at installation events.

“I like being in the field. It’s the person to person contact. It’s the gratitude of the people.”

Volunteering every day is quite a commitment, but it’s a no-brainer for Janet.

“There’s so much work that has to get done!” she says. “Everyone at Red Cross is so cooperative and helpful. It’s pleasant work, and as long as I can do a lot of it from home, then that makes it more efficient and better for me.”

Janet encourages anyone who’s interested to volunteer for an event and see what it’s about.

“You’ll feel very fulfilled. You have to be flexible, but the end result is worth it. Everybody knows the Red Cross and you get to be part of that!”

Ailid Ramos

“I had some free time and so I wanted to help,” says Ailid, a volunteer in Information Management for #GetAlarmedNYC. “I read about the program and it was very interesting to me because it is making a difference for New Yorkers. When I was looking for a volunteer opportunity, this was the only one that I found that had a variety: you could volunteer for so many different things. That’s what brought me to Red Cross."

Each #GetAlarmedNYC event requires planning to ensure that installation teams maximize the number of residents they see and alarms they install. Ailid’s role includes scheduling appointments with residents, mapping routes for installation teams and managing program data.
“This is something that I’m passionate about – working with data and reports – so when I heard about the position I fell in love with it,” she says. “I thought that I could have an impact on the organization and the campaign.”

Ailid is looking to gain work experience and to improve the lives of others at the same time.

“This is something that I want to do, in transition from being a stay at home mom to get back into the workforce. It makes me feel good, helping others. It’s like a win-win opportunity. I’m helping them, and also I feel this is good for me to restart and get back into my field.”

She hopes more people will consider volunteering for #GetAlarmedNYC, because it’s an opportunity to meet people, help New Yorkers, and to explore different service areas.

“The Red Cross is very open, and they make you feel like you’re part of the organization. I’ve seen Red Cross as an opportunity for me,” she says. “I’m enjoying what I’m doing.”

Hector Pereira

Hector came to the Red Cross after Superstorm Sandy.

“I wanted to respond immediately and get involved,” he says. “I saw the Emergency Response Vehicle onsite and that kind of inspired me. I thought I could do that.”

Hector later got involved with #GetAlarmedNYC by joining an installation event in the Bronx.

“As the volunteer alerts came out, I just continually signed up,” he says. “I took various classes and training and got more involved.”

Hector now serves as an installer, fire safety educator and driver for installation events; as well as a responder for the Bronx Disaster Action Team (DAT).

Outside of the Red Cross, Hector has been a New York City Auxiliary Police Officer in the Bronx for 35 years.

“I’ve been doing that since I was at John Jay College,” he says.

He’s retiring soon and will dedicate even more of his time to volunteering for the Red Cross.

“The positive thing about #GetAlarmedNYC is that you get immediate involvement in people’s lives. You do make a difference. There is the satisfaction of actually interacting with individuals in their homes. The whole model is that you’re saving a life without realizing it. It’s a great experience for anyone that wants to volunteer.”

Hector is eager for New Yorkers to step up and do more.

“The only way you can make a difference is by getting involved. Once you get involved, you create some amount of change. Also, you are kind of a role model to others. They see the things you’re doing.”

He also wants to inform potential volunteers of the many options available to them.

“With the flexibility of Red Cross, you make up your own hours. There’s no pressure. They want you to do what you can do, when you can do it.”

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