Psychosocial Intervention Training To Help Evacuees Offered Sept. 19-21

Sept. 5, 2008

Contact: Dr. James Ellor, Baylor University School of Social Work, (254) 710-4439

Hurricane Gustav impacted the Waco area with evacuees at two local nursing homes and at the Veterans Administration. With Hurricane Ike heading towards Texas, trained persons in social work, psychology, counseling and ministry -- who want to maximize their training to support persons who have sought refuge here in Waco -- are needed. Weekend training is being offered in Waco Sept. 19-21 for professionals as well as students in these professions.

The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District will sponsor Critical Incident Psychosocial Intervention Team training for volunteers in social work, psychology, counseling and the ministry. Students and professionals are encouraged to attend the event, which will be held at the Health District office, 225 W. Waco Dr.

"This training is psychological first aid," said Dr. Jim Ellor, professor of social work at Baylor School of Social Work. "We want to help the folks in shelters address some of the emotional and spiritual challenges that come with their sudden evacuations and journeys away from their homes."

Ellor helped initiate the training event, which awards participants two certificates from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, one from the Red Cross and others from the Medical Reserve Corps.

"Our purpose is to train volunteers to understand the emergency management system in Central Texas and to respond with a defined skill set that offers emotional and spiritual support for persons during disaster incidents," Ellor said. "This team would be available to help persons reduce their stress when they first arrive in Waco after an evacuation and then to walk with those who need emotional and spiritual support while they are here."

The training will prepare individuals to assist in any kind of natural disaster or crisis situation. Training will be from:

    • 6:30 to 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19
    • 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20
    • 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 21

The Sunday segment can be completed online.

Participation is limited to the first 40 who register. To do so, contact Media contact: Kelly Craine, preparedness trainer for the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District, at (254) 750-5429.

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