Experts say we are in for a busy wildfire season this summer, and the American Red Cross needs volunteers to help in our community. Large fires, including the Poeville, Mahogany and Numbers fires have already impacted hundreds of people as hot, dry, windy conditions have taken hold. Natural disasters are happening concurrently with the COVID-19 pandemic, making it necessary for the Red Cross to adapt emergency response measures including they way we deploy volunteers to a disaster response.
“The coronavirus pandemic will make it challenging to deploy trained disaster volunteers from other parts of the country should an emergency occur. In light of this, the Red Cross is asking you to be ready to help your community,” said Heidi Ruster, regional executive for the American Red Cross of Utah and Nevada. “Train now to be a Red Cross volunteer and answer the call to help if the need arises here in our own state.”
There is a special need for 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 the Red Cross will open traditional shelters. To help keep people safe, the Red Cross has put in place additional precautions and developed special training for our workforce.
According to a statement from the Red Cross, “We need volunteers to help staff shelter reception, registration, feeding, dormitory, information collection and other vital tasks to help those we serve. We have both associate and supervisory level opportunities available.”
Health services support needed
If you are an RN, LPN, LVN, APRN, NP, EMT, paramedic, MD/DO or PA with an active, current and unencumbered license, the Red Cross needs your support. Volunteers are needed in shelters to help assess people’s health. Daily observation and health screening for COVID-19-like illness among shelter residents may also be required. RNs supervise all clinical tasks.
Roles are also available for Certified Nursing Assistants, Certified Home Health Aides, student nurses and medical students. We need volunteers 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.
Furry friends need help, too
When people leave their homes during an emergency, they take their pets with them. The Red Cross is looking for established partner organizations to support the pet sheltering effort.
How to volunteer
If you are interested in helping our community should a disaster occur, go to redcross.org/volunteertoday.
Be sure to review the CDC guidance for people who are at higher risk for severe illness, consult your health care provider and follow local guidance. Our number one priority is the health and safety of our employees, volunteers and the people we serve.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.
For more information, visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, tag us @RedCrossNevada or visit our pages at Faebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.