A new member and the need for more American Red Cross volunteers were discussed during Wednesday’s regular bimonthly meeting of the Auglaize County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC).
With several key members of the group absent so they could attend another meeting, LEPC business discussion was brief.
Brian Schlosser, owner and operator of Schlosser Funeral Home and Cremation Services, in Wapakoneta, was approved by the group as a new member of the organization although the Auglaize County commissioners still need to sign off on the nomination before it can officially be approved.
Schlosser is a volunteer firefighter and EMT with the St. Johns Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department and for six years also worked as a dispatcher in the Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office.
Schlosser said in the event of a natural disaster or hazardous materials spill for which there were casualties, as a funeral director, he could lead a much needed mortuary team in removing the bodies as EMS would be tied up with patient care.
“It’s stuff we don’t like to talk about, but it is real,” LEPC Chair and Wapakoneta Fire Chief Kendall Krites said.
Don Jump, who heads up the Citizen Corps Council and Medical Reserve Corps, said having the membership and involvement of a funeral director is just one other aspect of planning.
“It’s one discipline that is mentioned as being needed,” Jump said before recommending Schlosser’s membership be approved. “It would be an asset to have him on board.”
After completing four months of his own disaster response training through the American Red Cross, the county’s branch director Ken Cline said the priority has been getting shelter sites set up and recruiting volunteers.
“I’m trying to get out and explain what the Red Cross does on a local level,” Cline said. “There is so much more we do than people are aware of.”
Despite a good amount of interest in volunteering, Cline said training requirements placed on volunteers have been a hinderance.
He said efforts are being made to allow that training to move from the classroom, which has been required, to online.