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American Red Cross Needs Local Volunteers During Active Hurricane Season

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – The American Red Cross of the Virgin Islands is seeking volunteers to assist during this year’s active hurricane season in midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In late July, the tropical system that became Hurricane Isaias passed over the territory as the ninth named storm of the season — the earliest on record. As we enter the peak months for development, NOAA’s updated August forecast calls for up to 25 named storms and has the potential to be one of the busiest on record. 

“In light of the record pace of storms we are seeing in the Atlantic, the Red Cross is asking Islanders to be ready to help our community,” John Duck, Executive Director, Red Cross USVI, said. “The pandemic will make it challenging for disaster workers from the mainland and other U.S. territories to travel here. Local volunteers provide critical, on the ground relief, and are the first line of support in any disaster.”

SHELTER WORKERS MAY BE NEEDED During the pandemic, territory officials are encouraging all islanders to have plans to shelter-in-place, when possible. For larger-scale disasters, where this is not safe, the Red Cross will work with DHS to provide safe places to stay. If congregate shelters are opened, the Red Cross will need local volunteers willing to support these efforts.

HEALTH SERVICES SUPPORT NEEDED Due to health concerns associated with COVID-19, there is also a special need for registered nurses (RNs) and other medical professionals with active, current and unencumbered licenses.  Should congregate shelters open, disaster health volunteers would be needed to help screen and assess people’s health.

Be sure to review the CDC guidance for people who are at higher risk for severe illness, consult your health care provider and follow local guidance. Our number one priority is the health and safety of our employees, volunteers and the people we serve.

HOW TO VOLUNTEER If you are interested in helping us provide service to our island community, please go to www.redcross.org/VolunteerToday or contact our area offices at 340-778-5104 serving St. Croix and 340-774-0375 serving St. Thomas, St. John and Water Island districts. All volunteers are required to complete an application, pass a background check, and take a short series of virtual trainings in order to follow COVID-19 protocols. In the end, we simply ask that you serve with a kind heart.

The American Red Cross of the U.S. Virgin Islands has an office in St. Croix and St. Thomas (serving St. Thomas, St. John and the Water Island districts). The Executive Director is John Duck who came to the Virgin Islands in September of 2017, just days before Hurricane Irma hit. Call us at 340-778-5104 (St. Croix) or 340-774-0375 (St. Thomas). For more information, please visit redcross.org/USVI or facebook.com/RedCrossUSVI

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 cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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