The Canadian Red Cross makes a difference in the lives of those dealing with a variety of hardships.
Those individuals could be dealing with issues that include being displaced by residential fires or are affected by other disruptive events like ice or wind storms, prolonged power outages, storm surges and flash floods.
To ensure each of those individuals’, family’s or even an entire community’s needs are met, the Canadian Red Cross requires a host of volunteers to be part of its response teams.
“Our volunteers are the first point of contact during house fires, flood calls, etc.,” says Jillian Mullowney, the Red Cross disaster management co-ordinator for the St. John’s region, a vast coverage area that spreads from the capital city to the Bonavista/Burin area.
“There are lots of things volunteers can do, as no two days are the same. Our teams are always on call and will respond no matter if it is 3 a.m. or 3 p.m.”
Mullowney said there are approximately 300 volunteers who donate their time to the Red Cross, and while that may sound like a lot, the vast size of the province, and the need for volunteers in all communities, makes the total small in comparison to other jurisdictions.
So to help enhance its ongoing mandate, the Red Cross is seeking volunteers to help make a difference to those in critical need.
This volunteer recruitment drive is seeking any and all persons who wish to make a difference and meet the criteria requirements that include being at least 19 years old, having a valid driver’s licence, obtaining a clear criminal record check, completing first aid and other specialized disaster training that the Red Cross provides at no charge, and agreeing to be available to help 24 hours a day on a rotating schedule.
These volunteers help manage difficult situations in and around their respective communities, but other volunteers make themselves mobile to attend any disaster.
An example of this would be last summer’s record forest fires in British Columbia or the 2016 wildfire that forced the evacuation of Fort McMurray, Alta.
This past year alone, volunteers from this province responded to several high-profile situations that included a fire on Froude Avenue in St. John’s, severe damage at apartments in Churchill Square following a windstorm in March and the evacuation of Mud Lake, where evacuees were met by Red Cross volunteers when they walked off the helicopters in Labrador.
“While we are looking for volunteers, we are looking for a certain type of volunteer,” Mullowney said.
“We need people that are empathetic and remain calm in a crisis, and people that come from all kinds of backgrounds. The clients like to see someone from their community they know, kind of like a neighbour.”
Mullowney said people feel more at ease when they see it is their postman, the person who works in the shop down the street or even their child’s teacher who is responding to them in a time of need.
All play a part
Volunteers are the heart of the Canadian Red Cross, as more than 15,000 volunteers share their time and skills to help others every day across Canada.
There are many different types of volunteer positions, including some of short duration and others that require a longer commitment. The time commitment, location of service provision and skill requirements vary from role to role.
Those positions are not limited to frontline help, as it takes people working behind the scenes to make a difference in the level and kind of care people in need receive.
“We need folks to do what we would consider the less glamorous work as well. There are people who do logistics, human resources, operation managers, who all play a key role in work done by the Red Cross,” Mullowney said.
There are many different reasons to become a volunteer. Some of those who volunteer with the Red Cross are interested in building professional skills; others are looking to stay active after they retire, while others want to engage more with their community.
The Canadian Red Cross wants volunteers to get the most from their experience, so it invests in them. Volunteers are provided with a comprehensive training program to help them build skills and maximize the learning potential in their roles.
Its volunteers can expect a positive and professional environment.
Volunteers make up more than 70 per cent of personnel within the Canadian Red Cross.
The Red Cross couldn’t do the work it does without volunteers, and they are required at all levels — including leadership.
The Red Cross in N.L.
The Canadian Red Cross in Newfoundland and Labrador offers an extensive network of programs and services that actively serve local communities throughout the province.
Those services that the Canadian Red Cross are connected to include emergency and disaster services; first aid and CPR training; health equipment loans; nutrition and transportation; swimming and water safety; and violence, bullying and abuse prevention.
There are four primary centres located in the province:
17 Majors Path
175 Roe Avenue
30 Main Street
Additional details and instructions for applying are available online at redcross.ca/volunteer.