Back-to-back massive disasters have more than 1,800 American Red Cross volunteers, including more than 50 volunteers from the Illinois Region working tirelessly from coast to coast right now providing food, shelter and comfort to thousands of people in need.
Every year, the Red Cross responds to more than 60,000 disasters with the great majority of them being home fires. Therefore, It is essential to have trained, ready volunteers to make sure we can provide relief at a moment’s notice. Last year, Red Cross volunteers with the Illinois Region provided immediate emergency assistance to 9,135 people after 1,832 home fires and other disasters.
Our volunteers play several critical roles in their local communities, including providing aid after disasters and educating people about home fire safety.
If you want to make a difference and are interested in helping your community should a disaster occur here at home or across the country, please sign up at redcross.org/volunteertoday. Below are the most needed volunteer positions in the Illinois Region:
DISASTER ACTION TEAM MEMBER
Local Disaster Action Teams provide 24-hour emergency response to local disasters, particularly home fires, ensuring that those affected have access to resources for basic necessities such as food, shelter and clothing. If you are team-oriented and want to help your neighbor here or across the country, the DAT responder may be just the thing for you.
The Red Cross needs new volunteers to support disaster shelters. Volunteers will help with reception, registration, food distribution, dormitory, information collection and other vital tasks inside disaster shelters locally and nationally.
The Red Cross also needs volunteers who can work in disaster shelters locally and nationally to address people’s health needs and provide hands-on care in alignment with their professional licensure (registered nurse and licensed practical nurse/licensed vocational nurse). We have both associate and supervisory level opportunities available. If you are an RN, LPN, LVN, APRN, NP, EMT, paramedic, MD/DO or PA with a current and unencumbered license, this volunteer position could be right for you.
Preparing for Emergencies: September is National Preparedness Month
The impact of climate change is being felt by families across the country as we see more intense storms, heavier rain, higher temperatures, severe droughts and record-setting hurricanes and wildfires. The American Red Cross of Illinois urges everyone to get ready by making preparedness a priority this September during National Preparedness Month.
We have recently seen emergencies impacting people who don’t usually experience a major disaster or extreme weather, while other communities are going through the devastation of disasters multiple times a year. Disasters can happen anywhere, anytime. We urge people to prepare now and be ready if an emergency occurs in their home or in our local community. Helping people during disasters is at the heart of our mission and climate change is a serious threat we are all facing. Help keep your loved ones safe — get Red Cross Ready today.
HOW TO GET PREPARED Help keep your family safe by taking three actions:
- Get a Kit - build your emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for infants or pets, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information.
- Make a Plan - plan what to do in case you are separated from your family during an emergency and what to do if you have to evacuate. Coordinate your plan with your child’s school, your work and your community’s emergency plans. Don’t forget to include your pets. Remember, if you and your family need to evacuate, so does your pet. Know in advance which pet-friendly hotels are in your area, and where your pets can stay in an emergency situation.
- Be Informed - plan to stay informed by finding out how local officials will contact you during a disaster and how you will get important information, such as evacuation orders.
ADDITIONAL CONCERNS Being prepared is important for everyone. Depending on your household’s needs, there might be additional considerations to take into account as part of your emergency planning.
For example, older adults or people with mobility, hearing, learning or seeing disabilities may need to create a support network of people that can help during an emergency. The Red Cross recommends creating a plan that considers each person’s capabilities, any help they may need and who can provide it. This is especially important if evacuations are called for or if the power goes out for several days.
Disasters can be scary for children. It’s important to talk with your kids about preparing for common emergencies, how to stay safe and what to expect before a disaster happens. The Red Cross has free programs and tools to help, visit redcross.org/youthprep for more information.
In addition, you can learn lifesaving skills to help people in a crisis until medical professionals arrive. Sign up for a first aid, CPR or other classes available online or in-person. Visit redcross.org/prepare for more information.
Critical Need of Blood Donors
Blood can take up to three days to be tested, processed and made available for patients, so it’s the blood already on the shelves that helps to save lives in an emergency. To help prepare your community, make an appointment to donate blood and help save lives.
There is an ongoing, critical need for lifesaving blood this summer as blood product distributions to hospitals remain higher than anticipated. In recent months, the Red Cross has sent 12% more blood products to hospitals to help patients in need, including higher distributions to hospitals in areas where the pandemic continues to disrupt normal blood collection operations. Donors of all blood types – especially type O – are urged to make an appointment to give now.
Blood transfusions are one of the most common hospital procedures in the U.S. – used to help treat kids battling cancer, accident victims being rushed to emergency rooms, individuals experiencing extreme sickle cell disease pain, and people with complicated childbirths.
If you’re healthy and feel well, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at redcrossblood.org.
Blood drive safety
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive.
About the American Red Cross of Illinois
The American Red Cross of Illinois serves 12.4 million people in 88 counties in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri including Adams, Bond, Boone, Brown, Bureau, Carroll, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Cook, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, DeKalb, De Witt, Douglas, DuPage, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Franklin, Fulton, Green, Grundy, Hamilton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Iroquois, Jasper, Jefferson, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McDonough, McHenry, McLean, Menard, Mercer, Montgomery, Morgan, Moultrie, Ogle, Peoria, Perry, Piatt, Pike, Putnam, Richland, Rock Island, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, Stark, Stephenson, Tazewell, Vermillion, Warren, Washington, Whiteside, Will, Williamson Winnebago, Woodford. Iowa: Lee, Muscatine, Scott and Van Buren. Missouri: Clark, Lewis, Marion and Ralls. 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 us at Redcross.org/Illinois or visit us on Twitter @RedCrossIL.