Red Cross gets new volunteers ready for Irma

(Photo courtesy KSN News)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Local Red Cross volunteers are switching gears from Texas to Florida as Harvey responders and getting themselves prepared to help Hurricane Irma victims. Saturday, Wichita’s Red Cross branch held an emergency training where 30 new volunteers registered to help disaster victims.

“We need volunteers,” said Jennifer Sanders, Red Cross Director. “With two major disasters occurring, we are still supporting people in Texas, and now we’ve got Irma. We assume it’s going to be pretty impactful.”

Currently, over 50 Red Cross volunteers from Wichita in Texas responding to Harvey. Saturday’s training was a mixture of new volunteers eager to help, and some just returning from Texas helping to get them ready. Dicie Nicklaus, Red Cross disaster program manager, led Saturday’s training with a slideshow of what to expect and how to appropriately transition people into the shelters.

“You might have to remain at a client shelter for more than 12 hours,” explained Nicklaus. “You could be there for a few days. I know at some point we were keeping people at the client shelter because we couldn’t get them to a from their shelter, roads were flooded and the water was too high.”

Volunteers were able to get first hand knowledge of what to expect when they get to Florida as well as a heads up on expectations.

“You have to be flexible,” said Nicklaus. “Location and assignments can change at any time, depending on the need and you may not be in an areas with cell phone service so, make sure your family knows that.”

KSN spoke to a volunteer from Kansas, who is currently in Texas, responding to Harvey. Her and her husband have been in Texas for two weeks helping victims.

“The waters are really high in a lot of places,” said Rosalind Scott. “That’s why we couldn’t get into some of the assigned places we were supposed to be in. Some of the more experienced people were sent there because they had done disaster relief before.”

Scott says this is her first time volunteering for the Red Cross, but it wont be that last. She plans to land in Kansas on Tuesday and be on a plane to Florida by the end of the week to assist Irma victims. If you’re interested in volunteering for the Red Cross, visit this link.


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