• 59°

Red Cross needs volunteers

Seeks disaster aid workers

The American Red Cross is looking for volunteers to help out in the time of local disasters.

“We need 60 volunteers in the area,” said Marita Salkowski, the American Red Cross’ regional communications and marketing director for the greater Cincinnati-Dayton region. “We are looking for mostly disaster services people. Those would be the people who go to the homes when there is a fire and provide assistance. We are looking for people to be our boots on the ground.”

She said that many times when people think of the American Red Cross and their disaster assistance program, they think of the big efforts like when hurricanes struck Texas and other large-scale events.

“While that is accurate, a great deal of our disaster response services are within local communities,” Salkowski said. “It is responding to fires, people who have been displaced from their homes because of flooding or a tornado. It’s actually neighbors helping neighbors.”

From Jan. 1, 2017 to Jan. 1, 2018, the American Red Cross helped 25 Lawrence County families, for a total of 85 people, after 22 fires and three storm-related cases.

In fact, the American Red Cross was on the scene Friday morning for a fire at 2326 County Road 181, providing help to the family who was displaced by the fire and the fire fighters.

“In addition to helping the residents of that home, we provided canteen service for about 45 firefighters,” Salkowski said. “Where it has been so cold, the firefighters need as much support as the residents because they are out in the cold battling the fire.”

The American Red Cross had one of their large response vehicles there so fire fighters could go in there grab some hot chocolate and get warmed up.

As far as the assistance provided to disaster victims, Salkowski said it depends what is needed.

“We have financial assistance that we give to home owners, we provide them with shelter, we provide them with health services,” she said, adding they help to make sure they have needed medicine or medical equipment like wheelchairs. “We make sure they get those things immediately. We also provide mental health services for the victims of fire and any other local disasters.”

The American Red Cross provides the training for disaster service workers.

“And it is training that can be used in other facets of their life,” Salkowski said. “We provide CPR training, First Aid training. And we train them the volunteers on how to respond, what equipment is available.”

To find out about volunteering go to redcross.org/volunteer, call 740-354-3293 or call toll free at 1-888-354-3293.