TAMPA, Fla. – August 17, 2020 – As we enter the peak time of year for hurricane development, the American Red Cross of Central Florida is seeking volunteers to assist during this year’s active season in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In early August, the Red Cross prepared for Tropical Storm Isaias (which became a hurricane) that moved up the east coast of Florida as the ninth named storm of the season -- the earliest on record. Now, forecasters are keeping an eye on two new tropical disturbances moving westward in the Atlantic, which currently have a 50% and 60% chance of development this week.
“In light of the record pace of storms we are seeing in the Atlantic, the Red Cross is asking members of our
community to consider joining us as a disaster volunteer,” said Katie Sherk, Regional Disaster Officer. “Travel restrictions and health concerns due to the pandemic will make it challenging for hundreds of workers from other states to travel to Florida to help, as they have in the past. In the event we are directly impacted by a major storm this year, we will be relying on local volunteers to meet this need.”
SHELTER WORKERS NEEDED The Red Cross will continue to open evacuation centers and traditional post-storm shelters at the request of emergency management and in coordination with local public health authorities. To help keep people safe in the COVID-19 environment, we have put in place additional precautions and developed special training for our workforce.
HEALTH SERVICES SUPPORT NEEDED Due to the pandemic, there is also a special need for registered nurses (RNs) and other medical professionals with active, current and unencumbered licenses. Should congregate shelters open, disaster health volunteers would be needed to help screen and assess people’s health.
HOW TO VOLUNTEER Prospective volunteers are encouraged to review the CDC guidance for people who are at higher risk for severe illness, consult their health care provider and follow local guidance. Our top priority is the health and safety of our employees, volunteers and the people we serve. Individuals interested in helping us provide service to our communities this hurricane season can get started at www.redcross.org/VolunteerToday.
The Central Florida Region of the American Red Cross serves 19 counties through five chapters: Florida’s Space Coast (Daytona Beach), Greater Orlando, Mid-Florida (Winter Haven), Southwest Florida (Sarasota) and Tampa Bay. For more information, visit redcross.org/centralflorida. Also find us on Facebook and Twitter.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
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