CLEVELAND, July 13, 2020 — While summer is a time to enjoy the weather and spend quality time outdoors, it is also a time for disasters. Here in Northern Ohio, summer means severe storms and tornados. During COVID-19, the American Red Cross has also seen an increase in local disasters, such as home fires, due to more people staying at home. In addition, experts are warning that the United States can expect busy hurricane and wildfire seasons this summer. To help respond to these disasters, the Red Cross needs volunteers from the region, who are willing to travel when necessary, to lend a helping hand.
“The coronavirus pandemic will make it challenging to deploy trained disaster volunteers to 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 and communities across the country when disaster strike,” said Tim O’Toole, disaster program manager for the Red Cross of Northern Ohio. “Train now to be a Red Cross volunteer and answer the call to help if the need arises here in our region or elsewhere across the country.”
SHELTER HELP NEEDED 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, 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.
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.
FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN VOLUNTEERING If you are interested in helping our community should a disaster occur, please go to redcross.org/volunteertoday or contact Gail Wernick at (216) 431-3328.
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, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
About the Northern Ohio Region:
The Northern Ohio Region of the American Red Cross serves 31 counties and their 5.3 million residents by preventing, preparing for and responding to emergencies 24 hours per day, seven days a week. Subscribe to our blog at nohredcross.org, find us at Facebook.com/NOHRedCross, on Instagram at Instagram.com/nohredcross, at LinkedIn.com/in/nohredcross, and follow us @RedCrossNOH on Twitter.