In the Bay Area, Red Cross volunteers respond to a local disaster – most often a house or apartment fire – every 18 hours. Our volunteers are on call 24 hours a day to assist local children and families who have lost their home to a house fire, flood, or other devastation. Children and families left homeless from disasters seek the Red Cross in their time of need. We've found that the majority of people affected by local disasters are children.
They come to us, often with only the clothes on their backs seeking a caring person. In return, our Disaster Action Teams (DAT), made up entirely of volunteers, provide comfort kits for personal hygiene, emergency shelter, food, clothing, and appropriate financial assistance. We also link children and parents to housing assistance, social services, and mental health services to help assist with the devastating loss of their homes, belongings, pets, loved ones, and often their "old lives." In essence, we help them begin anew.
Large disasters that exceed the resources of the local chapter and its volunteers are managed and supported by the American Red Cross at a national level. Hurricanes, major flooding, tornadoes and major earthquakes generally fall into this category. Pre-trained disaster response volunteers from the Bay Area may be deployed to assist with these efforts. Volunteer assignments for national responses last for a period of two to three weeks. Volunteers receive training and are assigned according to their specialty areas, which cover all aspects of the operation from logistics and mass care to client services to staffing, public affairs and partner services.
All disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from people in our community.
Interested in becoming a disaster responder? Start the volunteer orientation process today.