How You Can Help the Greater Philadelphia Area During Hurricane Season

April 26, 2020. Onalaska, Texas. Liesa Hackett of The American Red Cross does damage assessment in Onalaska, TX, on Sunday, April 26, 2020. A powerful tornado damaged hundreds of homes in the community earlier in the week. Photo by Scott Dalton/American Red Cross

By: Marta Rusek

Hurricane season arrived fast and furious at the Jersey Shore late last week with Tropical Storm Fay. As many community members in our area cope with unemployment and housing insecurity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the threat of a natural disaster could not come at a worse time. That’s why we are gearing up to ensure that emergency support is available for communities impacted by hurricanes when they happen.  

“As we saw with Tropical Storm Fay last week, hurricane season is here, and we need to be ready. The coronavirus pandemic will make it challenging to deploy trained disaster volunteers from certain parts of the country should an emergency occur,” said Guy Triano, CEO of the American Red Cross Southeastern PA Region. “Train now to be a Red Cross volunteer and answer the call to help when the need arises.” 

To keep our volunteer workforce safe as we help impacted communities during COVID-19, additional safety precautions have been put in place and the Red Cross has developed special training for disaster volunteers going into the field.  

April 17, 2020. Monroe, Louisiana. While observing social distancing due to the Covid-19 pandemic Sandra White of the American Red Cross checks on Lottie Jones at a hotel for people affected by a tornado in Monroe, LA on Friday, April 17, 2020. Lottie is one of hundreds of residents who needed shelter after the storm. Normally the Red Cross would set up shelters but due to the Covid-19 pandemic and social distancing guidelines they have been providing people with individual rooms in various local hotels. Photo by Scott Dalton/American Red Cross

We are especially seeking volunteers to help out in our shelters for displaced families (which will be set up if emergency hotel lodging is not available in the affected area). Volunteer support is needed for shelter reception, registration, meal preparation and distribution, dormitory, information collection, and more.  

The Red Cross is also in urgent need of medical professionals and first responders to provide on-site healthcare and support (including imparting important health information and replacing medications). If you are a registered nurse (RN), licensed practical nurse (LPN), licensed vocational nurse (LVN), advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), nurse practitioner (NP), emergency medical technician (EMT), paramedic, medical doctor (MD), doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO), or physician assistant (PA) with an active, current and unencumbered license, your expertise is needed. We also have positions available for Certified Nursing Assistants, Certified Home Health Aides, student nurses and medical students. 

To register or learn more about volunteering for the American Red Cross, contact our volunteer recruiters: Ned Bloom at 570-417-5608 Ned.Bloom@redcross.org or Monica Wildes at 215-299-4803 Monica.Wildes@redcross.org.  

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