According to Red Cross Staff, Rural Alaska Relies on Volunteers

logo-w-sunburstKayla Desroches/KMXT

The CEO of Red Cross Alaska visited Kodiak last week.

Tanguy Libbrecht says volunteers are vital to Red Cross in the case of an emergency, especially in rural Alaska.

“Even when you think from the perspective of disaster readiness where in the Lower 48 they’re saying ‘Have a kit,’ which we tell people, ‘Be prepared, have a kit, have a plan.’ We say three days. But in Alaska it’s at least seven, because it’s gonna take a while for folks to get here in the event we have a disaster. So, how do we respond remotely? We do that with volunteers, and that’s been a great success story here.”

He says four years ago there were few volunteers in Kodiak, and local disaster program manager Bill Morrow has worked to build up that volunteer base.

Morrow says he drops by Kodiak once or twice a month and works with about a dozen volunteers.

“There’s many different ways they can volunteer. They can volunteer in preparedness, in giving people an education on how to prepare for a disaster, and we have a response that they can work in – the response and shelter teams or case work. And then we have the recover, which would be case work, but then the shelter would be in response too.”

He says they practiced setting up a shelter at Women’s Bay this September, and are planning another exercise in the near future.

Morrow and Librecht sat down with their volunteers over dinner at the Chart Room restaurant last Thursday in a gesture of appreciation for their time and effort.

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