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Red Cross urgently needs volunteers for hurricane, wildfire season

Red Cross said experts are predicting a busy hurricane and wildfire season this summer and it is preparing now
Credit: AFP PHOTO / RINGO CHIU
A man waters his home as firefighters battle a wildfire as it burns along a hillside near homes in Santa Paula, California, on December 5, 2017.

ST. LOUIS — The Red Cross is looking for volunteers as hurricane and wildfire season approach.

According to a press release, it urgently needs hundreds of volunteers for national deployments.

Red Cross said experts are predicting a busy hurricane and wildfire season this summer and it is preparing now.

The American Red Cross of Missouri-Arkansas said it is recruiting members of the public to volunteer to deploy across the nation to help those expected to be affected by devastating hurricanes and wildfires this summer.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of volunteers currently available to deploy is greatly reduced, so we are asking individuals who are healthy and available to consider joining the American Red Cross as a temporary disaster volunteer now,” said Mary Jane Thomsen, Greater St. Louis executive director.  “If it’s something you have been thinking about doing, you are needed now more than ever.”

If you’re interested in volunteering – you’ll need to be able to deploy for a 14-day period and work 8 to 12-hour shifts, the Red Cross said.

Three hours of virtual training (six hours for supervisors) will be required prior to deployment and a pre-health screening will be conducted.

The Red Cross said interested volunteers are asked to review the CDC guidance for people who are at higher risk for severe illness, and consult their health care provider to determine if they should deploy.

The nonprofit said it primarily needs 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 traditional shelters will be opened. To help keep people safe, additional precautions will be in place and special training has been developed to ensure protocols are followed.

For shelters, the Red Cross needs volunteers to staff areas including reception, registration, feeding, dormitory, information collection and other vital tasks. Both associate and supervisory level opportunities are available.

“If you are available to support various shelter operation staffing needs or are a healthcare worker who can deploy to areas affected by hurricanes and wildfires this summer, the Red Cross needs you to volunteer now,” said Thomsen. “Additional training, COVID-19 safety protocols and health measures will be in place for safety. Our number one priority for the Red Cross is the health and safety of our employees, volunteers and the people we serve.”

To volunteer, please go to redcross.org/volunteertoday or contact Kristin Pendleton at the Greater St. Louis office at 314-281-7968 or Kristin.pendleton@redcross.org.