Red Cross needs local volunteers due to COVID-19

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) — Experts say we are in for a busy wildfire season this summer and the American Red Cross needs volunteers to help in the community, as well as be available to deploy to national disasters such as Hurricanes on the east coast.

Red Cross officials emphasized the fact that disasters don’t stop in a pandemic and neither do Red Cross volunteers who offer care and comfort to all affected by disasters large and small.

“The coronavirus pandemic will make it challenging to deploy trained disaster volunteers from around the country should an emergency occur. In light of this, the Red Cross needs volunteers to be ready to help out nationally, as well as to answer the call to help if the need arises here in our own back yard” said Heidi Ruster, Utah and Nevada Regional Executive.

Red Cross officials say help is needed in multiple areas.

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, they said they have put in place additional precautions and developed special training for their workforce.

They also need volunteers to help staff shelter reception, registration, feeding, dormitory, information collection, and other vital tasks to help those they serve. Red Cross have both associate and supervisory level opportunities available.

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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 says they need 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. They need volunteers in shelters who can provide care as delegated by a licensed nurse. This might 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.

When people leave their homes during an emergency, they take their pets with them. The Red Cross says they are also looking for established partner organizations to support the pet sheltering effort.

Those interested in helping the community should a disaster occur, please go to volunteer.utah@redcross.org  Those interested in volunteering or needing more information can also contact Kristy Denlein, Regional Volunteer Services Officer at 801-323-7000.

Red Cross is asking that those interested 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.

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