Helping the American Red Cross with Hurricane Florence

By Fanni Barocsi

I recently traveled to Fairfax, Virginia to help the American Red Cross with Hurricane Florence, and it was a great experience working with so many dedicated and passionate people. The Canadian Red Cross and the American Red Cross have a long-standing relationship supporting each other during large disasters. Therefore, it isn’t surprising that when Hurricane Florence first made landfall the Canadian Red Cross was ready to send staff and volunteers over to help. A total of 40 Canadian Red Crossers were sent to help with Florence.

To help with Hurricane Florence I was stationed at the DOCC or Disaster Operations Coordination Centre. I was there to help the social media team respond to questions and identify concerns throughout their social media channels.

The DOCC is designed specifically for disasters. During a large disaster the DOCC is staffed 24/7 working to coordinate relief efforts and support everyone working in the areas impacted by the disaster. In the case of Hurricane Florence that meant supporting those working in North and South Carolina.

There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes at the DOCC and a lot of great people. Here is a quick snap shot of just some of the wonderful people I met while I was there.
Rena Penney Crowder from American Red Cross
Meet Rena Penney Crowder who has worked for the Red Cross for 30 years. Her job is all about sending the right volunteers and staff to help when a disaster hits.
Eli Russ from American Red Cross
Eli Russ is currently helping with Hurricane Florence and is working as a Sheltering Lead. This means he makes sure that the shelters set up for people displaced by Hurricane Florence run smoothly.
Nigel Holderby from American Red Cross
Nigel Holderby works tirelessly with Disaster Public Affairs. She does a lot of different things including working with social media and making sure that any reputation threats online are addressed by her team.

Vicki Eichstaedt from American Red Cross
Vicki Eichstaedt is an American Red Cross volunteer and works closely with Nigel in Communications and Public affairs. A lot of communications work during disasters involves crisis communications. Crisis communications for a non-profit organization like the Red Cross is very important because we want to ensure that people continue to trust us and donate to help those impacted.

To join the Red Cross and become a highly trained volunteer, who can help with large disasters in Canada or even the U.S., start volunteering in your community today. 


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