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Municipalities across the state arrange for emergency shelters when there is a need for temporary refuge for housing, essential food, water, hygiene and access to emergency services. The Town of Pepperell’s Emergency Management Agency is responsible for organizing and running our municipality’s Emergency Shelter. We do this through our Community Emergency Response Team, (CERT) and have arrangements with North Middlesex Regional Schools for use of the Varnum Brook Elementary School for this purpose.
In addition to CERT, we also rely on a separate but important group of volunteers who assist CERT in staffing the shelter when open. Shelter operations requires at least two support people at all times and these additional volunteers help in that regard. Responsibilities involve providing supervision and support to shelter occupants. Time commitment, aside from an emergency situation, is normally one meeting or training session per year. When the shelter is active, volunteers are scheduled for 4-hour time blocks based on their availability.
Shelter openings are not common as we normally have residents shelter in place for the first 24 hours while we assess the need. It is usually within this window that relief is seen. But the town has to be ready for an extended duration event or if there is an immediate evacuation level emergency.
If interested in becoming a key volunteer and you are at least 18 years of age with your own transportation, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Note that all volunteers will be pre-screened and may be subject to a background check.