From the American Red Cross Disaster Action Team:
BUFFALO, NY, — American Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT) volunteers provided immediate emergency assistance for 346 people following 144 fires across the Western New York Region in June, and responded to 37 fires over the July 4 holiday weekend, providing comfort and support to 109 people between July 1 – July 6:
- Greater Rochester Chapter
- June 1-30: 48 fires, 99 people
- July 1-6: 7 fires, 19 people
- Southern Tier Chapter
- June 1-30: 34 fires, 60 people
- July 1-6: 17 fires, 57 people
- Western New York Chapter
- June 1-30: 72 fires, 187 people
- July 1-6: 13 fires, 33 people
Red Cross assistance typically includes funding for temporary housing, food, and clothing as needed, and specially-trained Disaster Mental Health volunteers are available to help those affected deal with the emotional aspect of their disaster. Affected families meet with caseworkers in the days following their disaster 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.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED In addition to home fires and the potential for flooding and other regional disasters, experts say we are in for a busy hurricane and wildfire season this summer, and the Red Cross needs volunteers to help in our community and are willing to deploy to support 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 H Turner II, American Red Cross, Western New York Region CEO. “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.” Full information on volunteer opportunities is available here.
SHELTER HELP NEEDED 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 when possible. If hotel stays aren’t possible, then the Red Cross will open traditional shelters. To help keep people safe, we have put in place additional precautions and developed special training for our workforce.
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.
FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN VOLUNTEERING If you are interested in helping our community should a disaster occur, please go to redcross.org/volunteer or email WCNY.VSRecruitment@redcross.org. 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.
DONATIONS NEEDED You can also help the Red Cross deliver its lifesaving mission during this public health emergency by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-REDCROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.