Current Red Cross Volunteers Have Been Working Tirelessly for Weeks, Need Back-Up
Austin, Texas, Sunday, May 24, 2015 – As severe weather and massive flooding continue to impact communities across the state of Texas this Memorial Day weekend, the American Red Cross serving the Central and South Texas region is looking for volunteers to join its workforce.
Training for new volunteers will be offered on Monday, May 25, at Point Community Church, 11300 Old San Antonio Road, Manchaca, Texas 78652. Training begins at 9 a.m. Upon completion of this training, volunteers will be official Red Cross disaster volunteers and will be trained to work in a Red Cross shelter or perform damage assessment.
“When families across Texas need shelter, disaster relief and comfort, Red Cross volunteers are there to help them,” said Marty McKellips, Regional Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross Serving Central and South Texas. “Now more than ever, we need people in the community to step up and help their neighbors in need by becoming a Red Cross disaster volunteer and to provide relief for our current volunteers.”
New Volunteers: Visit http://www.redcross.org/tx/austin/volunteer/application to start your application before the training begins on Monday. Volunteers without online access can also fill out the application on site on Monday before training begins.
Existing volunteers: Existing Red Cross volunteers are encouraged to log in to Volunteer Connections as soon as possible and update their availability. You will be contacted by staff services as needs arise.
Red Cross volunteer training is free and open to the public. A background check will be performed on every volunteer applicant prior to the training on Monday.
The Red Cross is already on the ground across Central and South Texas sheltering families and residents impacted by flooding and storm damage, but more volunteers are needed. All Red Cross services are free and available to everyone. Anyone affected by this weekend’s storms and needing assistance is highly encouraged to reach out to the Red Cross by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.
For a list of current shelter openings in Central & South Texas, visit https://redcrosscstr.wordpress.com/2015/05/24/red-cross-shelters-open-in-central-south-texas/.
As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for floods by:
- Downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App to your mobile device. The Red Cross emergency app sends location-based flood and flash flood watches and warning alerts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The app also includes tips on how assemble an emergency kit for your family in the event of a power outage or evacuation, an “I’m Safe” button to let loved ones know you are okay, and a real-time map to help you find the location of Red Cross shelters should you need to leave your home. The app has a Spanish language toggle switch and can be downloaded by visiting org/apps.
- Download our Flood and Shelter Apps to your mobile device. These apps are the latest in the series of Red Cross emergency preparedness apps that put lifesaving information right in the hands of people whenever and wherever they need it. The audible alerts in the app can save lives – even when users are away from a radio or TV and help those affected locate a local shelter for relief.
- Creating and practicing a Disaster Plan: Talk to everyone in your household about what to do if a flood occurs. Decide where you would meet and who you would contact in case of flooding. Assemble and maintain an emergency preparedness kit. Be prepared to evacuate your family and pets at a moment’s notice. To locate the nearest Red Cross emergency shelter, check your emergency app or visit redcross.org/shelter. Listen to area radio and television stations for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress.
- Assembling an Emergency Preparedness Kit: Kits should contain a first aid kit and a seven-day supply of essential medications, foods that don’t require cooking or refrigeration and manual can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries, copies of important documents like your insurance policies, cell phone chargers, family and emergency contact information, maps of the area and other emergency items for the whole family.
- Heeding Flood Warnings: Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated flood information. A flood WATCH means flooding or flash flooding is possible in your area. A food WARNING means flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area. When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
- Relocating During Flood Warnings: Stay away from flood waters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankle, stop, turn around and go another way. If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
- Keep children and pets out of the water, as they are curious and can be harmed by flowing or contaminated water.
- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
For more information on what to do before, during and after a flood, please visit redcross.org/prepare/ disaster/flood.
You can also follow the Central Texas Chapter of the American Red Cross on Twitter at @CenTexRedCross, contact the Chapter at 512-928-4271, visit redcross.org/tx/austin or call 1-800-REDCROSS. We urge you to share these Red Cross flood preparedness tips with every member of your household, because the best protection is to be prepared ahead of time.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.