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Red Cross seeks disaster relief volunteers

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The American Red Cross is seeking local disaster relief volunteers as the nonprofit prepares for hurricane season. 

“The coronavirus pandemic may make it challenging to deploy trained disaster volunteers from 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,” said Barry Porter, regional CEO for the American Red Cross Eastern North Carolina.  “Train now to be a Red Cross volunteer and answer the call to help if the need arises here in our region.”

The American Red Cross faces a unique challenge in preparing for this hurricane season. During the pandemic, the agency established new guidelines for sheltering designed to keep workers and clients safe, such as setting up more small shelters, each with fewer clients.

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 lodging when possible. If necessary, the Red Cross and its partners will open shelters. However, to ensure proper social distancing, more shelter locations may be necessary and additional volunteers will be needed. 

Volunteers will help staff shelter reception, registration, feeding, dormitory, information collection and perform other tasks. Both associate and supervisory level opportunities are available.

Red Cross officials are also seeking registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses, advanced practice RNs, nurse practitioners, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, physicians and physician assistants with active and unencumbered licenses. 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. Volunteers will 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.

Prospective volunteers should be 18 or older and be willing to take training classes to become a shelter service associate, shelter supervisor, disaster health services associate or disaster health services supervisor. 

Visit www.redcross.org/volunteertoday to get started or email encrecruit@redcross.org for more information.