Red Cross issues call for volunteers

Help needed as winter increases the risk of home fires
Support also needed for Red Cross Blood Program

Winter weather has arrived and with it an increase in the number of home fires. The American Red Cross of Northern Ohio is recruiting new volunteers to help respond to these local emergencies by supporting people in their time of greatest need.

Nationally, the Red Cross has already responded to more than1,900 home fires since 2022 began, providing assistance to more than 6,500 people. In the Northern Ohio Region, trained Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT) members have responded to 60 home fires so far this year, helping 215 people impacted by a fire in their home.

LOCAL RESPONSE HELP NEEDED DAT volunteers help families with their immediate needs after a fire in their home and offer support during a very difficult time. As a DAT team member, you will provide emotional support, access to financial assistance and information to help families begin to recover. DAT team members respond to emergencies to provide immediate compassion and care. Training will be provided.

Home Fire Response

“Our Red Cross volunteers support their community and neighbors in need each and every day by responding to local emergencies,” said Mike Parks, Regional CEO, American Red Cross of Northern Ohio. “We need more help so no one faces this heartbreaking situation alone.”

Ruth Davidson Gordon – Red Cross Volunteer Blood Donor Ambassador

BLOOD SERVICES VOLUNTEERS ALSO NEEDED The Red Cross also needs volunteers to support blood collections as the country faces an ongoing critical need for blood products and platelets. Blood donor ambassadors play an important role by greeting, registering, answering questions and providing information to blood donors throughout the donation process. Blood transportation specialists provide a critical link between blood donors and blood recipients by delivering blood to hospitals in our communities.

Blood Transportation Specialist

COVID-19 AND STAYING SAFE The need for volunteers is constant and continues to evolve as the Red Cross navigates the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The safety of everyone is our top priority and our guidelines reflect the latest CDC safety recommendations. COVID-19 vaccination is required for in-person volunteer roles beginning February 15, 2022. When considering volunteer opportunities, review the CDC guidance for people who are at higher risk for severe illness, consult your health care provider and follow local guidance.

Please consider joining the Red Cross as a volunteer today and bring help and hope to people in need. Vaccination verification required for in-person roles. Find out more at redcross.org/volunteertoday.

Volunteering as a Disaster Team Member

Team members on a Firewalk - passing out fire safety literature in susceptible areas - in Summit CountyOur Disaster Action Team (DAT) members are amazing people!

When a family experiences a home fire a two a.m., it is the DAT team that pull themselves from their own beds and respond, bringing a little light into a dark situation. If a building complex catches fire on Thanksgiving Day and requires multiple fire departments to respond and control, DAT team members leave their own families and turkey dinners to serve hot coffee, cold water and other snacks to the fire personnel.

Walter Reddick, DAT volunteer with the Greater Cleveland Chapter, feels that giving people a direction after a disaster has given him a purpose. When asked what made him want to volunteer with the American Red Cross he said he had a stranger show him love and wanted to do the same thing, to better himself and to help create something new in the lives of those with whom he interacts.

For some, volunteering with the Red Cross has been a family affair. Jack Beck, a volunteer with the Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties Chapter, became a volunteer after his father and uncle volunteered with the organization. Once, he responded to a familiar address. When his aunt experienced a home fire, Jack found it was gratifying to be able to provide support as the Red Cross to her.

Many of our volunteers work with families across the United States. When a disaster strikes, they are called up on to report to the scene, even if it is hundreds of miles away. Gene McCray, DAT Team Leader and Logistics Lead for the Stark and Muskingum Lakes Chapter, has been on 10 disaster relief operations including places as far away as Tampa and South Dakota.

Gene even met the love of his life, Cheryl, through the Red Cross!

It’s not just the two a.m. calls that keep our volunteers busy, many also volunteer in other Red Cross services areas, such as our Service to Armed Forces programs and Disaster Education Preparedness programs. Take for example, Alice Martinez, a volunteer with the Lake Erie/Heartland Chapter, who volunteers with as DAT member, a Pillowcase Project presenter, a general Community Disaster Education Presentations/Events worker, as part of the Shelter Survey project and provides occasional support to disaster casework and volunteer candidate inquires. Or Mark Morrow, from the Lake to River Chapter, who- in addition to his DAT team responsibilities, volunteers as Office Support at the Jefferson Office location, and recently became an instructor for our health and preparedness classes!

If you are interested in volunteering as a DAT member – or in any of the other positions available with the Red Cross – visit www.redcross.org/volunteer or call 216-431-3328