The American Red Cross needs volunteers for its Disaster Action Teams, which provide immediate emergency assistance.

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.

Red Cross needs volunteers to help in the community and be willing to deploy to support national relief operations in the COVID-19 environment.

“The coronavirus pandemic may make it challenging for many of our trained disaster volunteers to deploy from other parts of the country should an emergency occur,” said Alan H Turner II, American Red Cross, Western New York Region CEO. “In light of this, the Red Cross is asking those who are willing and able to help in this environment to train now to become a Red Cross volunteer and answer the call to support relief operations here at home and across the country.”

Full information on volunteer opportunities is available at redcross.org/volunteer/become-a-volunteer/urgent-need-for-volunteers.html.

There is a special need for volunteers to support sheltering efforts during disaster relief operations 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.

Volunteers are needed to help staff shelter reception, registration, feeding, dormitory, information collection and other vital tasks to help those we serve. Both associate and supervisory level opportunities are available.

Support from those who are RNs LPNs, LVNs, APRNs, NPs, EMTs, paramedics, MD/DOs or PAs 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. Volunteers are needed 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.

If interested, go to redcross.org/volunteer or email WCNY.VSRecruitment@redcross.org.

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. The No. 1 priority for the Red Cross is the health and safety of its employees, volunteers and the people it serves.

To support American Red Cross Disaster Relief, visit redcross.org, call 1-800-REDCROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Gifts enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.

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, visit redcross.org or on Twitter at @RedCross.

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