Experts predict we are in for a busy hurricane and wildfire season and the American Red Cross is preparing now. The American Red Cross of Missouri-Arkansas is recruiting members of the public to volunteer to deploy across the nation to help those expected to be affected by natural disasters.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of volunteers currently available to deploy is greatly reduced, so we are asking individuals who are healthy and available to consider joining the American Red Cross as a temporary disaster volunteer now,” said Stacy Burks, Southern Missouri executive director.
Individuals need to be able to deploy for a 14-day period and work 8 to 12-hour shifts. Three hours of virtual training (six hours for supervisors) will be required prior to deployment and a pre-health screening will be conducted. Interested volunteers are asked to review the CDC guidance for people who are at higher risk for severe illness , and consult their health care provider to determine if they should deploy.
Volunteers needed for shelter operations and Disaster Health Services.
The Red Cross primarily needs volunteers to support sheltering efforts. Because of COVID-19, the Red Cross is placing those needing a safe place to stay in emergency hotel lodging when possible. If hotel stays aren’t possible, then traditional shelters will be opened.
For shelters, the Red Cross needs volunteers to staff areas including reception, registration, feeding, dormitory, information collection and other vital tasks. Both associate and supervisory level opportunities are available. In Disaster Health Services, volunteers with health care backgrounds are needed in shelters to help assess individuals’ health and provide hands-on care in alignment with professional licensures (RN, LPN, LVN, APRN,NP, EMT, paramedic, MD/DO or PA). Specifically, volunteers are needed who can 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.
“If you are available to support various shelter operation staffing needs or are a healthcare worker who can deploy to areas affected by hurricanes and wildfires this summer, the Red Cross needs you to volunteer now,” said Burks. “Additional training, COVID-19 safety protocols and health measures will be in place for safety. Our number one priority for the Red Cross is the health and safety of our employees, volunteers and the people we serve.”