Peninsula: Red Cross in need of disaster volunteers

Officials from the Olympic Peninsula Chapter of the American Red Cross say they are in desperate need of disaster volunteers.

“Each Red Cross chapter is required to provide disaster assistance and without volunteers we can’t do it,” said Phyllis Darling, executive director of the Olympic Peninsula Chapter of the American Red Cross. “Clallam County currently faces a critical shortage of disaster volunteers.”

Darling said at least 10 volunteers are needed in the Port Angeles area and five in each West End community.

Red Cross volunteers respond to about 50 disasters a year on the Peninsula — most being fire and flood related.

In October, Red Cross disaster volunteers helped victims in LaPush, Forks, Neah Bay and other West End communities when several rivers spilled over the banks, causing flood water to rush into homes and businesses.

The volunteers set up shelters, arranged for deliveries of food and medical supplies and worked with families to make sure their basic needs were met, Darling said.

Red Cross volunteers are often the first on the scene when fire or flooding dislocates a single family, Darling said. But, she added, they must also be prepared for an earthquake.

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