There is a growing need in the valley for volunteers who are willing to respond at a moment’s notice to help victims in an emergency situation. The Trauma Intervention Program (TIP) needs volunteers.
From the Las Vegas Strip crash that made headlines around the world to a suicide no one may have heard about, TIP volunteers were there.
Jill Bernacki is the CEO of the program.
“It’s very difficult, but it’s very rewarding,” she said.
For the last 21 years, the non-profit has sent volunteers to aid first responders in all kinds of emergency situations. Their goal is to offer emotional support to victims during their darkest hours.
“In 2015, we responded out to over 1,400 scenes,” Bernacki said.
That’s nearly a 15 percent jump from the year before. Bernacki says the number of people they serve at each call has also increased 30 percent.
She cites the valley’s growing population for the jump in the number and more first responders who are aware of their service.
“All of them, if they had the time and the ability, they would provide that support, because they are in the helping industry,” Bernacki said. “Unfortunately, they don’t have the time to sit on the curb with that individual or hold that person’s hands who just lost their spouse, and we do.”
Bernacki says it’s not always easy to find TIP volunteers, so the search for those willing to step up is ongoing.
“You have to have something special in you. It’s not for the faint of heart,” she said.
The next TIP training academy takes place from January 21st to January 29th. TIP volunteers have to be willing to be on call for three 12-hour shifts per month. Volunteers must also pass a background check.
Training lasts approximately two weeks, but it’s very intense with role playing and other exercises conducted by national trainers. Scenarios range from helping someone who just killed a pedestrian in an accident to helping someone who lost a spouse to suicide.
In addition to initial training, volunteers also must commit to educational meetings every month.