Many weather experts predict a destructive hurricane season this year. The American Red Cross needs volunteers to help on the ground and blood and platelet donors to roll up a sleeve to maintain a stable blood supply in the face of emergencies.
“There have already been several named storms this year, and experts report we could see 10 or more storms with winds reaching hurricane strength,” said Keith Rhodes, chief executive officer of the North Texas Region. “It’s critical to have a trained, ready volunteer workforce to make sure we can provide disaster relief at a moment’s notice. Please train now to be a Red Cross volunteer and help if the need arises.”
The Red Cross needs new volunteers to support disaster shelters. Volunteers will help with reception, registration, food distribution, dormitory, information collection and other vital tasks inside disaster shelters.
After most disasters this year, the Red Cross plans to open group shelters. However, in some communities, hotels may be more appropriate if the risk of COVID-19, including the delta variant, is particularly high. The Red Cross will also continuemany of the safety precautions implemented in 2020, including masks, health screenings, enhanced cleaning procedures and encouraging social distancing.
Local Disaster Action Teams provide 24-hour emergency response to local disasters, particularly home fires, ensuring that those affected have access to resources for basic necessities such as food, shelter and clothing. Last year, the North Texas Region provided immediate emergency assistance to nearly 5,000 people after nearly 1,100 home fires and other disasters.
If you want to make a difference and are interested in helping your community shoulda disaster occur here at home or across the country, please contact our area offices at (214) 678-4800 or register online at www.redcross.org/volunteer.
Wildfires, record-breaking heat and a busy hurricane season can also impact the nation’s blood supply. On top of the toll extreme weather events take on the lives of millions, disasters can cause blood drive closures or prevent donors from being able to give safely. Eligible donors can help overcome the critical need for blood and ensure blood is readily available by making an appointment visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.
To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements.