Red Cross seeking Crook County volunteers

People are needed for community outreach, the sheltering team, case work and home fire preparedness


The American Red Cross needs volunteers in Crook County for a variety of tasks.

Lisa Stroup, Red Cross executive director for Central and Eastern Oregon, said the need is great here because Crook County residents traditionally have a high level of responses.

The Red Cross is particularly emphasizing the need for disaster responders involving home fires. A nationwide campaign has been initiated because someone in the U.S. dies in a home fire seven times every day, according to the agency.

“The campaign is to reduce this number, and our volunteers can help save lives and prevent injuries,” Stroup said, "but we are struggling with our team in Crook County."

She said the lone Crook County volunteer "has his hands full" and needs people to assist him.

The Red Cross's goal is to arrive at the scene of house fires within 45 minutes of the call to firefighters. That's more difficult to do when Red Cross volunteers from Redmond or Bend are the responders, Stroup said.

Crook County residents can get involved by assisting victims of house fires and other disasters. Volunteers also are needed to install free smoke alarms and teach residents how to test and maintain their alarms.

Here are some of the volunteer opportunities open now in the county:

• Community outreach volunteer. This person will be the public face of the Red Cross at fairs, festivals and other events. Outreach volunteers staff information booths to educate the public about Red Cross services.

• Sheltering team. This is a group position to prepare communities for mass sheltering and feeding. Volunteers, who must be 18, will identify, inspect and record all shelter facilities in the area.

• Case work, staffing and administration for disaster response. There are opportunities for health and mental health services, case workers and administration. These volunteers will help provide support during such things as house fires, wildfires, winter storms or other disasters. After working in a local capacity, volunteers can be trained for deployment to large national disasters. Volunteers in this category must be at least 18.

--Family preparedness education. Teams will teach Red Cross programs designed specifically for pre-kindergarten to second-graders, third- through fifth-graders, teens and adults. Each program lasts 20 to 60 minutes, and provides tools to help local families and businesses be prepared by making a plan and assembling a disaster kit. This opportunity is for people age 16 and older.

• Home fire preparedness team. Participants will work with the fire department to install free smoke alarms and help families develop evacuation plans. A team of volunteers will set the schedule for each neighborhood served. Must be 16 years old.

More information about volunteering is available by contacting Stroup at Lisa.Stroup@redcross.org.

To become a Red Cross volunteer, file an application by going to the website www.redcross.org/or/bend and clicking on “volunteer,” then clicking on “login to volunteer connection.” A background check will be conducted before volunteer approval is granted. Afterward, each volunteer will be contacted by a recruiter for the next steps.

More information is available by contacting the Red Cross at volunteer.cascades@redcrossorg.

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