American Red Cross Disaster Action Team volunteers provided immediate emergency assistance for 346 people after 144 fires across the western New York region in June, and responded to 37 fires over the July 4th holiday weekend.
The Greater Rochester Chapter reported 48 fires and 99 people needing assistance in June, seven fires and 19 people on July 1-6.
Red Cross assistance includes funding for temporary housing, food and clothing as needed. Disaster mental health volunteers help those affected deal with the emotional aspect of their disaster. Families meet with caseworkers to work on a long-term recovery plan.
To help keep everyone safe and follow social distancing guidelines, Red Cross volunteers are working with local fire departments to connect with families by phone or video calls whenever possible.
Experts are predicting a busy hurricane and wildfire season this summer. The Red Cross needs volunteers to help in the community and deploy to national relief operations in the COVID-19 environment.
“The coronavirus pandemic may make it challenging for many of our trained disaster volunteers to deploy from other parts of the country should an emergency occur,” said Alan Turner II, CEO of the American Red Cross, Western New York Region. “In light of this, the Red Cross is asking those who are willing and able to help in this environment to train now to become a Red Cross volunteer and answer the call to support relief operations here at home and across the country.”
There is a special need for volunteers to support sheltering efforts during disaster relief operations across the country. Because of COVID-19, the Red Cross is placing those needing a safe place to stay in emergency hotel lodging. If hotel stays aren’t possible, the Red Cross will open traditional shelters.
Volunteers are needed to help staff shelter reception, registration, feeding, dormitory, information collection and other tasks. Associate and supervisory level opportunities are available.
The Red Cross needs RNs, LPNs, LVNs, APRNs, NPs, EMTs, paramedics, MD/DOs and PAs with active, current and unencumbered licenses to help assess people’s health in shelters. Daily observation and health screening for COVID-like illness among shelter residents may be required. RNs supervise all clinical tasks.
Roles are available for certified nursing assistants, certified home health aides, student nurses and medical students. These volunteers will provide care as delegated by a licensed nurse in shelters. This could include assisting with activities of daily living, personal assistance services, providing health education and helping to replace medications, durable medical equipment or consumable medical supplies.
Email wcny.vsrecruitment@redcross.org or visit redcross.org for information on volunteering.