Red Cross calls for more volunteers amid increased disaster response

The American Red Cross logo. (FOX 9)

From hurricanes to wildfires, the month of August is proving to be a busy one for the Red Cross. Organizers are calling for more volunteers as the need for disaster relief assistance ramps up.  

Just this month, the Minnesota and Dakotas region of the Red Cross has deployed more than 60 volunteers to natural disasters across the country.

"We're incredibly busy and encouraging all of our volunteers to be available to deploy," said Lynette Nyman of the Red Cross.

Crews are aiding in relief efforts out west where wildfires continue to consume tens of thousands of acres. Now volunteers are headed toward the Gulf Coast that was battered by Hurricane Ida. Before Ida, Category 1 Hurricane Henri caused power outages and brought record rain out east.

"What we used to experience was acute, there'd be one big major disaster per year and we'd rally and do the work and go on to the next one when it happened," said Nyman. "Now it seems in these last several years that we've gone from acute from chronic."

Nyman describes them as back-to-back disasters amid a pandemic. Now there's a need for blood and there's also a call for more volunteers.

"There is, I don't want to use the word urgent, but there is a critical need to replenish the trained volunteers," she said.

On the front line, disaster relief crews are the first line of support in a cycle that's showing no signs of slowing down.
"We have every expectation that Ida is not the end of the hurricane season and the Dixie fire isn’t going to be the last fire of the season," said Nyman. "I think that might be the new normal."

Red Cross volunteers are called to fill a number of duties, including delivering food and supplies on the ground. Some can even help out from home. For information on how to donate blood click here and for information on how to become a volunteer click here