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Red Cross Healthcare Volunteers Help in Disaster Relief

Red Cross Healthcare Volunteers Help in Disaster Relief

Workers spread a flag of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on the jetty in front of a passenger vessel chartered by ICRC to rescue passengers stranded by fighting between government forces and the Tamil Tiger rebels in Jaffna, about 240

By Renee Berg | Monster Contributing Writer

Training for Disaster Relief

To become an American Red Cross disaster-relief volunteer, licensed healthcare professionals should contact their local Red Cross chapter. An introductory training course can be completed in about an hour at home or three hours in a group setting.

Further training prepares volunteers for a variety of assignments, such as managing shelters or interviewing disaster victims. Some volunteers, such as Pennsylvania RN Barbara Schupeltz go on to serve in management roles or teach disaster-relief training classes.

“It’s satisfying work for me,” says Schupeltz, who is retired from a 27-year career in the US Navy. She started volunteering in 1996. “Maybe because I don’t work, to keep my hand in nursing even as a quasi-case manager is good for me,” she explains. “It keeps me in touch with my career.”

“Volunteers are the core of our being,” says Jane Morgan, manager of individual assistance within the American Red Cross’s response division. “You can take care of somebody’s house and their beds, but the individual himself needs to be OK. Health professionals tend to look at the whole individual and the whole family to make sure they’re OK.”

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