Photo by Joanne Francis on Unsplash

As we head into wildfire season, the American Red Cross is calling for volunteers. This year, with all its complications from the pandemic, there is an even greater need for extra 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,” Northwest Region CEO Alex Dieffenbach said in a statement.

During the fire season, the Red Cross assists in emergency hotel lodging. However, if it cannot book hotels, the Red Cross will need volunteers to help maintain the health and safety within traditional shelters. Volunteers can help at shelters in many ways including reception, registration, providing food, and more.

Health service workers also are on demand this fire season to help assess people’s health. The Red Cross is calling for your support if you are an RN, LPN, LVN, APRN, NP, EMT, paramedic, MD/DO or PA with an active, current, and unencumbered license. Health service volunteers are especially needed at this time for daily observation and screening for COVID-19 among shelter residents. Additionally, Certified Nursing Assistants, Certified Home Health Aides, student nurses, and medical students are encouraged to volunteer this season. Daily tasks may include assisting with activities for residents, personal assistance services, providing health education, and helping to replace medication and medical supplies.

People who have to evacuate their homes bring their four-legged family members with them. Animal-loving volunteers will also be needed as the Red Cross is looking for established partner organizations to assist with pet sheltering.

The Red Cross encourages potential volunteers and partners to review CDC guidelines for people who are at higher risk, consult your health care provider, and follow general health and safety guidelines.

For more information on how to volunteer, visit redcross.org/volunteertoday or contact the Red Cross directly at JoinUsNW@redcross.org.