Volunteer numbers up, needs more

LIHUE — The Kauai County American Red Cross Chapter has had 20 volunteers sign up since January.

The chapter is gearing up for the Pacific hurricane season and other natural disasters and that means it needs all the help it can get, said Padraic Gallagher, Red Cross chapter director.

“I would try to get them trained and equipped with all the stuff they need,” Gallagher said. “Who knows what this hurricane season would be like.”

Earlier this year, the chapter began a campaign for additional volunteers and now has about 80.

“If we had an even 100, it would be nice,” Gallagher said.

Disasters close to home are not the only cases the team is focused on.

The Red Cross is assisting people in Ecuador and in Japan, where earthquakes recently struck. In Houston, where more than 17 inches of rain fell on Monday and five people died, Gallagher said two volunteers from Kauai have signed up to offer assistance remotely.

“It’s a brand-new concept,” Gallagher said. “In Houston, we have virtual deployment. You don’t have to go on site, all you need to have is a phone. You can talk to clients. It’s a little difficult because of the time zone change and you’re working in the early morning. It’s a lot of fun because you’re directly helping somebody.”

Gallagher said help like this can be offered anywhere.

“We just got the notice for this yesterday and signed up two people today,” he said. “I’m a little jealous that I can’t help.”

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