Volunteers from the American Red Cross responded to an overnight fire on Hudson Avenue in Rochester, providing immediate emergency assistance for two adults and one child. Red Cross assistance typically includes vouchers for temporary housing, food and clothing as needed, and Disaster Mental Health volunteers are available to help with the emotional aspect of disaster. Those affected will meet with caseworkers in the coming days to work on a longer-term recovery plan.
Disaster Action Team (DAT) volunteers Carl Harder and Melissa Miller responded to the scene of this morning’s fire. The American Red Cross has launched an urgent appeal for volunteers, particularly disaster volunteers who can respond to local incidents such as home fires, flooding and snowstorms. There are also opportunities to deploy to other regions of the country during large-scale disasters to assist in sheltering, feeding, damage assessment and bulk distribution.
Prospective volunteers are invited to an information session tonight at 5:30pm at the Greater Rochester Chapter, located at 50 Prince Street in Rochester, to learn more about becoming a disaster volunteer. The session will include brief presentations on the menu of services provided by the Red Cross as well as stories from volunteers who have recently returned from serving in the flood relief efforts in Louisiana, followed by a Disaster Services Overview, the initial step in the training process. To register for tonight’s information session, email Rebecca.firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.redcross.org/volunteer or call 585-241-4400. Media is invited to attend the session.
To date, the Red Cross has deployed more than 6,300 volunteers in less than two months, two-and-half-times the number called upon by this point in 2015.
Last year saw 24,000 volunteers deployed, with 2015 requiring more than triple the number of volunteers to respond to disasters than in any of the past three years.
Recently, 44 staff and volunteers from the Western and New York Region have been assisting in flood-impacted areas of Louisiana. Many have returned home, while others are still serving there. Also this year, volunteers have traveled to California, Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi and Florida.
The Red Cross workforce is made up of 90 percent volunteers. In order to continue providing services locally and beyond, new volunteers are greatly needed. In addition to Disaster Services, volunteer opportunities are available in Blood Services, Services to the Armed Forces, and Health and Safety Services.