CLEVELAND — To help respond to disasters, the Red Cross is looking for volunteers from the region, who are willing to travel when necessary, to lend a helping hand.
“The coronavirus pandemic will make it challenging to deploy trained disaster volunteers to 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 and communities across the country when disaster strike,” said Tim O’Toole, disaster program manager for the Red Cross of Northern Ohio. “Train now to be a Red Cross volunteer and answer the call to help if the need arises here in our region or elsewhere across the country.”
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.
They need volunteers to help staff shelter reception, registration, feeding, dormitory, information collection and other vital tasks to help those we serve. We have both associate and supervisory level opportunities available.
Health services support is also needed. The Red Cross is asking for support form those that are an RN, LPN, LVN, APRN, NP, EMT, paramedic, MD/DO or PA 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. We need volunteers 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.
Additionally, the Red Cross is looking for established partner organizations to support the pet sheltering effort.
Those interested in helping should a disaster occur can visit redcross.org/volunteertoday or contact Gail Wernick at (216) 431-3328.