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Red Cross seeks volunteers to help if hurricane hits New York

An American Red Cross Disaster Relief vehicle outside

An American Red Cross Disaster Relief vehicle outside the United Way of Long Island headquarters in Deer Park. Credit: Barry Sloan

The risk of a hurricane descending on New York during the pandemic spurred the local American Red Cross Wednesday to ask for 1,000 volunteers to aid hard hit areas if a storm comes.

Among those urged to apply for the new Hurricane Season Reserve Corps are health care workers with a wide range of qualifications, individuals who can help people in shelters with daily tasks, and those who can organize and run shelters.

To shield New York from out-of-state travelers possibly infected with COVID-19, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has required quarantines for people arriving from 34 states as well as Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.

One consequence is that if a hurricane hit New York, the local American Red Cross might not be able to immediately bring in volunteers from out of state, said Susan Rounds, interim CEO of the American Red Cross Greater New York Region, in a statement.

“Train now to be a Red Cross volunteer and answer the call to help if the need arises here in our region,” Rounds said.

The American Red Cross Greater New York Region has chapter headquarters in Mineola, Manhattan and Greenwich, Connecticut.

Superstorm Sandy, which barreled through Long Island and the rest of the metropolitan area in October of 2012, forced thousands from their homes and caused billions of dollars worth of damage. Eight years later, meteorologists are predicting an especially active hurricane season in the Atlantic.

The storms, Rounds said, can peak in August and September, though the full hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

The Red Cross said it will provide a minimum of five hours of virtual training. During a disaster, volunteers would work 12-hour shifts. Both associate and supervisory positions are open.

The list of health care professionals needed is lengthy and includes physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, nursing and physician assistants, home health aides, EMTs and paramedics.

Nursing and medical students also are asked to volunteer.   

For more details, visit redcross.org/volunteertoday.

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