DAYTON —The American Red Cross is actively recruiting volunteers to be ready to carry out the organization’s lifesaving mission when disaster strikes. The need for volunteers is constant and continues to evolve as everyone navigates this health crisis. As hurricane season becomes more prevalent, the organization’s goal is to ensure there is a volunteer workforce, not only trained to provide comfort and support to those affected by disaster, but to do so by following new protocols to help keep everyone safe in this environment.
Anyone interesting in helping to meet the essential service needs of the public during a disaster should review the CDC guidance for people who are at higher risk for severe illness, consult a health care provider, and follow local guidance. The number one priority of the American Red Cross is the health and safety of all employees, volunteers, blood donors and recipients, and the people served by the American Red Cross.
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 hotel lodging when possible. If hotel stays aren’t possible, then the Red Cross will open traditional shelters. To help keep people safe, additional precautions have been put in place and the Red Cross has developed special training for their workforce.
Volunteers are needed to help staff shelter reception, registration, feeding, dormitory, information collection and other vital tasks to help those served by the Red Cross. Both associate and supervisory level opportunities are available.
The Red Cross also needs the support from anyone who is an RN, LPN, LVN, APRN, NP, EMT, paramedic, MD/DO or PA with an active, current and unencumbered license. 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. The Red Cross needs 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.
“This is an excellent opportunity to be able to lend a helping hand,” Executive Director Lynne Gump said. “Completing the training before a disaster strikes enables you to be able to immediately respond when people need the help most.”
Anyone interested in helping should a disaster occur can go to redcross.org/volunteertoday. Please know the Red Cross is looking for a commitment of at least a 14-day block between now and Dec. 1.