Red Cross Disaster Action Team just getting started in Amsterdam

Alicia Sheckton Joins Amsterdam Disaster Action Team

Alicia Sheckton Joins Amsterdam Disaster Action Team. Photo provided by City of Amsterdam, NY

Amsterdam NY: When Amsterdam Mayor Mike Cinquanti got to the scene of an Amsterdam house fire earlier this year, the City’s fire and police department personnel were hard at work as usual. There had been a tragic fatality, another victim who had been injured and required hospitalization and a family on the first floor of the home, who lost everything and had no relatives in the City to lean upon. So, in addition to putting the fire out, tending to the injured victims, and controlling vehicle and pedestrian traffic at the scene, the City’s emergency response personnel were also trying to help this family secure emergency assistance.

AFD Fire Chief Anthony Agresta informed the mayor that if available, an American Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT) from another community would provide this assistance to victims of disasters in our city, but on that evening, they too were busy in their own community.

So that same night, the mayor returned home and researched the Red Cross’s DAT program mission and requirements. The next morning, he called his friend, the very active community volunteer, Chris Carpenter, to ask him if he could suggest some local individuals, who he felt would be good candidates to staff a Red Cross DAT here in Amsterdam. Fortunately, Carpenter suggested Alicia Sheckton and even more fortunately, Sheckton was up for the challenge. She is a lifelong resident of the city who has been selflessly doing volunteer work in the community for 15 years.

Red Cross Disaster Action Team members provide emotional support, financial assistance, and information to help families begin the process of recovery. Sheckton underwent specialized Red Cross training for the role and is now officially on call here in Amsterdam, to respond to emergencies within 2 hours, day or night, rain, or shine, either on the scene or coordinating remotely to provide immediate compassion and care.

Anna Maison, Disaster Program manager for the Eastern Region of American Red Cross, oversaw Sheckton’s training and had this to say about Amsterdam’s new DAT member; “We are thrilled to have Alicia on the Disaster Action Team. In this capacity, Alicia will work with other Red Cross volunteers and paid staff to provide assistance to community members who have been affected by home fires or other disasters. Alicia has completed intensive training surrounding this assignment and will continue to learn about this role as she responds to fires with volunteers who have experience on the DAT team. Once Alicia feels comfortable and gains more experience, we will leverage this expertise and have her train new volunteers as they join the DAT team. Alicia’s attention to detail and her involvement in the community is invaluable. We are extremely excited to have her on our team!”

Mayor Cinquanti is excited too. “Alicia is filling a vital and very challenging disaster relief role for our community and we all owe her a huge thank you for being willing to perform this service on our behalf.”

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