CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The American Red Cross of South Carolina is looking for volunteers ahead of what is expected to be an active hurricane season.

So far in 2021, volunteers with the Red Cross have responded to nearly 1,600 disasters within the state and assisted 5,600 people in addition to supporting efforts in states across the country.

As hurricane season approaches, the Red Cross will need volunteers who can offer shelter support, health services and serve the disaster action team.

• Shelter support: Help at a shelter during a large disaster by welcoming and registering residents, serving meals, setting up cots, distributing blankets and personal hygiene kits, and providing information and other assistance to people in need.

• Health services: Use your professional skills as a licensed health care provider to deliver hands-on support, including care and education to people staying at a shelter during a large disaster. Qualified licenses include RN, LPN, LVN, EMT, Paramedic, MD, DO, PA, NP and APRN.

• Disaster Action Team: Join your local Disaster Action Team to help families affected by home fires and other disasters by providing support, such as food, lodging, comfort and recovery assistance.

“Volunteers are at the heart of our mission, representing 90% of our workforce and responding on a near-constant basis to provide safe shelter, food, and comfort after disasters across the country,” said Rod Tolbert, Chief Executive Officer for the American Red Cross of South Carolina. “As this relentless pace of severe crises continues, we need more volunteers to grow our capacity and help ensure families never face these emergencies alone.”

Additionally, the Red Cross is encouraging families – especially those living in coastal areas – to prepare now. Waiting for an emergency before you stock up on some supplies can pose challenges as stores can be overwhelmed with demand in addition to shipping challenges.

“With the increasing risk of climate disasters, it’s more important than ever to follow the three simple steps below to help keep your family safe,” said officials with the Red Cross.

• Build an emergency kit with bottled water, non-perishable food, a flashlight and battery-powered radio. Also include medications, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers and emergency contact information.

• Make an evacuation plan with what to do in case you are separated from your family during an emergency and if you have to evacuate. Make sure to coordinate with your child’s school, your work and your community’s emergency plans — and don’t forget your pets.

• Know how to stay informed by finding out how local officials will contact you during a disaster and how you will get important information, such as evacuation orders. 

The Atlantic Hurricane Season begins on June 1st and runs through the end of November, with the peak of storm season happening in late summer.