Be the change you want to see in the world. ~ Ghandi

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac

As Tropical Storm Isaac picks up and leaves in its path destruction and devastation, several organizations are gearing up to start assisting with repairs, and medical help.

Two teams are already packing up and sending crews from San Diego. American Red Cross has sent five disaster workers to the Gulf Coast, while San Diego’s International Relief Teams are working in San Diego preparing to be shipped out in case more hands are needed.

During disaster times such as these, at times I have found it oddly difficult to find ways (other than money) to support organizations providing disaster relief. Sometimes, it takes a lot of digging on the Internet to find little bits and pieces of needs – such as blankets, batteries, canned food or medical supplies – and where to send them.

One of the things that I would love to see on our organization’s website is the ability to post simple ways for people to help – and not always money – during times of disasters. (If you are reading this and know of a way for us to post immediate information during times of disasters- please contact us and we will be happy to post it. Email us at )

Since Tropical Storm Isaac is our current national disaster that is catching the headlines, the easiest organization I could think of to look at was The American Red Cross. So with this in mind, I thought I would walk you through getting set up to volunteer in the American Red Cross. The first step is easy, search our website! I searched our website in the Alphabetical Listing tab. I clicked on American Red Cross (General Nursing). You are directed to our page which gives general details about the organization. From here you can click on the link provided. The first page of the ARC displayed a simple way for me to help by donating. But I was interested in ways I could help physically as a nurse, so I kept looking. 

After spending 5 minutes searching on the website, I finally realized that I needed to look at my state chapter and then my county or local  chapter for detailed information. Here is the page to find your local chapter:  

Reading the Volunteer tab on my local chapter’s website, I recognized that there is a process which must take place first before I just fling myself into the arms of Tropical Storm Isaac.  It appears time consuming, but I believe if you take the steps now, you can help out easily and quickly, now and in the future.

After completing an informational session, fill out an application, and do an interview, you will be contacted by the specific volunteer department – that fits your skill set – and they will help complete the training needed to be an American Red Cross Volunteer.  

Sounds like a lot of steps and hoops to jump through…but I think that if I just check one off at a time I can get it done.  So maybe for Tropical Storm Isaac I will donate money, but for the next emergent need, I can think about being deployed. J

Here is a great emergency preparedness list of supplies that everyone should have in case of an emergency!

·         Water—one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
·         Food—non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
·         Flashlight
·         Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
·         Extra batteries
·         First aid kit – Anatomy of a First Aid Kit
·         Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
·         Multi-purpose tool
·         Sanitation and personal hygiene items
·         Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
·         Cell phone with chargers
·         Family and emergency contact information
·         Extra cash
·         Emergency blanket
·         Map(s) of the area