The American Red Cross is looking for volunteers for both local and national disaster responses.
"Our volunteers who are already established locally are the first ones to be deployed when there is national disaster response like Hurricane Gustav," said American Red Cross Serving King and Kitsap Counties Readiness Manager Dave Nichols. "Now is a good time to fill out an application and get trained to be a disaster volunteer. We anticipate sending out additional volunteers if Tropical Storms Hanna and Ike look like they will be heading towards the U.S."
So far 30 volunteers have been sent from King and Kitsap Counties and over 100 from Washington state to the Gulf Coast area to response to Hurricane Gustav. In ten states around the Gulf Coast, Red Cross volunteers staffed shelters, provided meals and emotional support to the almost 60,000 residents who have evacuated their homes.
When citizens are allowed to return home, Red Cross volunteers will be there with meals, snacks, cleaning supplies, toiletries, mental health support, and more. In preparation, the organization has begun moving workers into evacuated areas, along with Red Cross emergency response vehicles and mobile kitchens.
"There are a lot of opportunities to volunteer in our community as well and it is a great way to help your neighbors," Nichols added. "We respond to a residential fire every 42 hours in King and Kitsap Counties and for the last two years we've had major regional flooding. We need people to become volunteers now so they are ready to respond to major regional events like the flooding or the 2006 windstorm."
For more information about volunteering please visit our web site at www.seattleredcross.org or call (206) 726- 3566 or (360) 377-3761. Volunteers need to fill out an online application and complete a free background check along with the required training. Volunteers who wish to be able to deploy on a national assignment should have 14 – 18 days of availability.
The American Red Cross is a non-profit, humanitarian agency dedicated to helping make families and communities safer at home and around the world. For more information, visit www.seattleredcross.org.