Do you want to learn more about emergency preparedness while helping others? Become a volunteer with the American Red Cross' Disaster Action Team.

Disaster Action volunteers receive four months of free training on issues such as disaster assessment, emergency assistance for families and shelter management. The training sessions conclude with a mock-disaster evaluation exercise, which will be held in June.The first training session for volunteers will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. If a volunteer is unable to make the first session, he or she may start with the second session on March 13 and continue with the other five sessions.

After completing the initial training sessions, volunteers are also offered free ongoing training meetings.

Once trained, members of the disaster action team are called on to help in cases of emergencies - whether the emergency is a house fire affecting a single family or a countywide natural disaster.

Volunteers from the Disaster Action Teams assess damage and ensure that families have basic living essentials. Volunteers also provide emotional support for disaster victims.

In the recent past, team members from Utah county have offered assistance to families during the Lindon canal break, the Midway fire, the Middle Slide fire in Mapleton and the Roosevelt apartment fire in Salt Lake City, as well as numerous single-family house fires.

For more information on volunteering with the American Red Cross call the United Way Volunteer Center at 374-8108. Other community volunteer opportunities include:

- Volunteers 60 and older are needed to serve as senior companions to other senior citizens who are homebound and lonely. Volunteers work 20 hours a week and are paid a stipend for their services; volunteers must fit low-income guidelines to qualify for the stipend.

- Volunteer advocates are needed to help protect the human rights of mentally retarded people. Volunteers spend four to five hours each month befriending the client and attending meetings at the Utah State Training School in American Fork.

- Make your Valentine's Day a day of service. Make cards, cookies and decorations to take to nursing homes, the State Training School or the Youth Detention Center.

For more information on these and other volunteer opportunities, call the United Way Volunteer Center, 374-8108.