In the aftermath of all the wildfires in Washington, Oregon, California, and Montana, and Hurricane Harvey and Irma there’s a mess – time for the All American Clean Up.
The first organization to offer it’s assistance is the American Red Cross. 95% of the organization are volunteers. I know, because I’m one of those volunteers that received extensive disaster training prior to being deployed to the field.
I understand the basic nature of those that wanna help, I get it, I do. But after having the training, I also have the understanding why the training must be completed before you volunteer because you’ll be more of a detriment than a help for the all clean up with the American Red Cross.
That’s right. And depending on the type of disaster response being deployed and the role you play, you might even need additional training beyond the basics. Such as myself. I am part of the Western Washington’s Red Cross Disaster Services Technology Team – it’s a mouthful! What does that mean, you ask? It means that I’m also an amateur radio operator with a call sign with ARRL and registered with the FCC.
All American Clean Up
As I mentioned 95% of the organization are volunteers – unpaid but extensively trained personnel. When I read Facebook post after post, I didn’t have the heart to tell them if you showed up at an American Red Cross site they’ll accept your assistance in other terms that helping what they’re doing.
How can you immediately and effectively help? Donate. Seriously.
- Donate money – Did you know that an average of 91 cents of every dollar donated is allocated to disaster relief like the All American Clean Up of the wildfires, and hurricanes. You can also specify WHICH disaster you wanna donate to e.g. Hurricane Irma because you have friends and family in Florida.
- Donate blood – There’s a constant need for blood for patients. Please donate blood so that it can be given to the relief efforts
Of course, it’s a nice gesture to donate blankets, and whatnot, but honestly, save that for the other types of shelters. The money and blood are more needed to secure those items. I kinda frown at the thought that once the news crews leave, and news outlets start reporting more interesting and relevant news, that the want to help is disappear too.
There still will be a need to help with the disaster relief efforts! I do my part by continuing my training as a member of Western Washington’s Red Cross Disaster Services Technology Team. And yes, I know how to operate a radio. In a true emergency, the first network to fail is in the mobile phone carriers, and the first network to be set up will be with radio operators to establish communication.
Communication is vital for the coordination of a group effort. Even when the landlines are clogged with all the phone calls, the airwaves will be open. I know that when my iPhone 7 becomes a $800 brick, I can fire up my handheld radio to find assistance amongst my peers of amateur radio operators who double as American Red Cross Volunteers.
If you wanna know more about what it’s like to be an ARC Volunteer, hit me up. If you wanna become a volunteer, please visit for www.americanredcross.org for the proper workflow in becoming one.
Otherwise, be good like you should, and if you can’t be good, then be good at what you do!
Mic drop *bOoM*