Red Cross adjusts to changes, looks for volunteers during severe weather season

We’re in severe weather season in the Local 6 area. Conditions can change at a moment’s notice, and it’s your job to prepare your family.

Cindy Thompson chooses to help people when they’re dealing with disasters, like severe weather and fires.

"It’s a calling. It’s a passion. It’s something I love to do: helping people," Thompson said. 

She’s one of about 200 volunteers with the American Red Cross who help western Kentuckians when they need it most.

"Without volunteers, we can’t run. We have very limited staff, and our staff is spread very thin," she said.

For a little more than a year, the local Red Cross has had fewer employees because of restructuring of the Western Kentucky Chapter. That’s created the need for more volunteers. 

The chapter serves 24 counties. Before the restructuring, the Red Cross had nine different chapters to manage them.

It creates a big job for Disaster Specialist Director Linda Ehrsam. She’s one of two staff members managing the area.

"It is challenging at times to communicate with all 24 counties," Ehrsam said.

During severe weather, she says communication between counties and volunteers is a necessity.

"We want to be ready if we face a disaster. Instead of doing it after the fact, we want to have those preparations in place," Ehrsam said.

Those are preparations to keep you and your family safe when disaster hits.

Next Wednesday the Red Cross will host a volunteer orientation at the Paducah office. There, you can learn about different services they provide and sign up to be a volunteer. 

For information, visit American Red Cross volunteer information. You can also call the Paducah office at 270-442-3575.

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