ST LOUIS — The American Red Cross of Missouri and Arkansas is deploying volunteers to the Gulf Coast to support Louisiana and other areas as Hurricane Delta moves toward landfall.
As of today (Friday), more than 40 disaster workers from across the Missouri and Arkansas region are assigned to disaster efforts including the approaching Hurricane Delta, Hurricane Laura and Sally recovery efforts and wildfire response and recovery on the west coast.
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The Greater St. Louis Red Cross currently has nine individuals deployed to support disasters across the country, and four of them will be supporting potential needs related to Hurricane Delta.
Since Aug. 20, more than 165 individuals have deployed from the Missouri and Arkansas Region to support Hurricane Hanna and Isaias, the Midwest derecho and current response and recovery in the gulf and on the west coast.
“In anticipation of the devastation that may result from this latest hurricane, we are sending volunteers from Missouri and Arkansas to help, and depending on the storm’s impact, we anticipate more volunteers will be needed,” said Chris Harmon, Regional Disaster Officer for American Red Cross of Missouri-Arkansas. “Due to COVID-19, the number of our current volunteers available to deploy is down. Healthy individuals who can deploy up to 14 days can join us as a temporary disaster volunteer.”
Additional training, COVID-19 safety protocols and health measures are in place for safety.
Disaster volunteers needed
The American Red Cross of Missouri-Arkansas is recruiting members of the public to volunteer to deploy to help those expected to be affected by devastating disasters this year.
Individuals need to be able to deploy for a 14-day period and work 8 to 12-hour shifts. Three hours of virtual training (six hours for supervisors) will be required prior to deployment and a pre-health screening will be conducted. 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 Red Cross primarily needs volunteers to support sheltering efforts, but other disaster response needs also exist. 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.
In Disaster Health Services, volunteers with health care backgrounds are needed in shelters to help assess individuals’ health and provide hands-on care in alignment with professional licensures (RN, LPN, LVN, APRN, NP, EMT, paramedic, MD/DO or PA). Specifically, 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.
To volunteer, please go to redcross.org/volunteertoday.