PITTSBURGH — Experts say we are in for a busy wildfire and hurricane season this fall and the American Red Cross needs volunteers to help.

The coronavirus pandemic will make it challenging to deploy trained disaster volunteers from other parts of the country should an emergency occur. In light of this, the Red Cross is asking you to be ready to help your community. Train now to be a Red Cross volunteer and answer the call to help if the need arises here in our region.

Shelter help needed

There is a special need for volunteers to support sheltering efforts. Because of COVID-19, the Red Cross is placing those needing a safe place to stay in emergency hotel lodging when possible. If hotel stays aren’t possible, then the Red Cross will open traditional shelters. To help keep people safe, we have put in place additional precautions and developed special training for our workforce.

We need volunteers to help staff shelter reception, registration, feeding, dormitory, information collection and other vital tasks to help those we serve. We have both associate and supervisory level opportunities available.

Health services support needed

If you are an RN, LPN, LVN, APRN, NP, EMT, paramedic, MD/DO or PA with an active, current and unencumbered license, the Red Cross needs your support. Volunteers are needed in shelters to help assess people’s health. Daily observation and health screening for COVID-19-like illness among shelter residents may also be required. RNs supervise all clinical tasks.

Roles are also available for Certified Nursing Assistants, Certified Home Health Aides, student nurses and medical students. We need volunteers who can provide care as delegated by a licensed nurse in shelters. This could include assisting with activities of daily living, personal assistance services, providing health education and helping to replace medications, durable medical equipment or consumable medical supplies.

When people leave their homes during an emergency, they take their pets with them. The Red Cross is looking for established partner organizations to support the pet sheltering effort.

If you are interested in helping our community should a disaster occur, please go to redcross.org/volunteertoday or contact our area offices by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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