Red Cross Ready to Respond to Isaias, Needs Volunteers to Support Operations This Hurricane Season

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From the American Red Cross:

BUFFALO, NY, — As Tropical Storm Isaias moves along the East Coast, the American Red Cross is preparing to help. The Western New York Region has put sheltering teams on standby and is in contact with emergency officials and Red Cross colleagues from across the state and the Northeast to coordinate a safe, effective response. In addition, volunteer Tom Purnell of Rochester has deployed to Richmond, Virginia, where he will support sheltering operations in response to Isaias.

LOCAL VOLUNTEERS NEEDED The coronavirus pandemic and quarantine regulations may make it challenging for volunteers to deploy into New York State to support disaster relief operations following events such as hurricanes, widespread lakeshore flooding, and tornadoes.  The Red Cross needs volunteers to provide comfort and hope across the Western New York Region in the COVID-19 environment. Experts say we are in for a busy hurricane and wildfire season this summer, and the Red Cross also needs volunteers who are willing to deploy to support national relief operations. 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 here at home and 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.

If you are interested in helping our community should a disaster occur, please go to or email 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.

DISASTERS DON’T STOP DURING THE PANDEMIC Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT) volunteers responded to 71 home fires across the 27-county Western New York Region during July, providing immediate emergency assistance for 302 people from 114 families:

  • Greater Rochester Chapter: 21 fires, 32 families, 66 people assisted
  • Southern Tier Chapter: 22 fires, 38 families, 121 people assisted
  • Western New York Chapter: 28 fires, 44 families, 115 people assisted

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.

DONATIONS NEEDED You can 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, 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.

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