American Red Cross of South Carolina seeks volunteers ahead of hurricane season
HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – The American Red Cross is looking for volunteers to help prepare for an active hurricane season.
Sunday is the start of National Hurricane Preparedness Week. The Red Cross said now is the time to prepare for hurricane season – which begins on June 1.
“The best time to prepare for a hurricane is before you face one in a few days,” said Mandy McWherter, regional director of communications for the South Carolina Red Cross.
Volunteers make up 90% of Red Cross staff. The most sought-after positions are:
- Shelter support: welcoming and registering residents, serving food, setting up beds, distributing blankets and personal hygiene kits, and providing information as needed.
- Health services: Licensed health professionals provide practical support, care and education to people staying in shelters during major disasters. Qualified licenses include RN, LPN, LVN, EMT, Paramedic, MD, DO, PA, NP, and APRN.
- Disaster Action Team: Join your local team to help those affected by house fires and other disasters by providing food, shelter, comfort and other forms of recovery assistance.
- McWherter says the Eastern Chapter has about 250 volunteers covering all service lines for Pee Dee, Grand Strand, Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island. They need more, especially locals, to be better prepared.
McWherter said the Eastern Chapter has approximately 250 volunteers covering all service lines for Pee Dee, Grand Strand, Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island. They need more, especially locals, to be better prepared.
“It’s wonderful when we can have volunteers in our own state who can respond quickly to disasters, especially if we don’t have that much notice,” McWherter said. “Sometimes with hurricanes, we are warned that a disaster is potentially imminent days in advance. But with storms like spring storms and tornadoes, we sometimes don’t get a lot of notices for these events, so it’s very important that we have trained volunteers available whenever a disaster strikes.
Horry County Emergency Management staff said they are ready as it is expected to be an active season.
“They’re anticipating an above-average season in terms of storms,” said Thomas Bell, public information officer for Horry County Emergency Management.
He also said to prepare early.
“For the past few seasons we’ve seen a system turn in May and I think every indication from the National Hurricane Center is that they would expect it again this year,” he said. “If we start talking about something in the forecast in mid-May, don’t be caught off guard.”
Both Bell and McWherther agreed that people need to be prepared before hurricane season arrives. They said to know the risks of hurricanes, get an emergency kit, make a family plan, get informed from credible sources and make sure insurance is up to date.
To learn more about volunteer options and to register as a volunteer, visit the Red Cross website.