California Volunteers and Red Cross Call on AmeriCorps Disaster Teams to Aid Disaster Response

CaliforniaVolunteers is the state commission for the AmeriCorps program in California.  In 2016, CaliforniaVolunteers partnered with the American Red Cross chapter in Los Angeles to create a new AmeriCorps program that would be a deployable resource for statewide disaster response and recovery efforts. This program, called the California AmeriCorps Disaster Team (CADT), recruited 20 members in its first year.

These members are stationed at different Red Cross Chapters throughout California and perform typical AmeriCorps functions during what is called “Blue Skies,” a common term to describe when no disaster is occurring. These members receive specialized training throughout the year and are deployable by CaliforniaVolunteers in partnership with Red Cross during “Grey Skies,” a common term to describe when a disaster has occurred and response and/or recovery efforts are underway.

The CADT has deployed twice. In September of 2016, 10 members deployed to assist with Haitian Refugee support operations in San Diego. Recently, in February of 2017, 12 members deployed to assist with Oroville Dam evacuation shelter operations.

On Sunday evening, February 12th, 2017, the American Red Cross was tasked by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to establish shelters to support the evacuation of 200,000 residents that were threatened by the Oroville Dam.  Due to the enormity of the request, the decision to deploy CADT members to support shelter operations was made immediately.

Three CADT members, working with the American Red Cross Gold Country Region were activated on Sunday; two members supported the Red Cross Department Operation Center (DOC) in the planning and operations sections, one of whom was also assigned to the State Operations Center (SOC) for a few days. The third Sacramento CADT member was immediately assigned to the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds shelter in Chico, California to assist with staff scheduling.

Nine additional CADT members, along with one California Safe Corps AmeriCorps member, arrived Tuesday morning. Three CADT members from the American Red Cross of Central California were assigned to support the American Red Cross warehouse located in Sacramento. These members worked alongside other volunteers to sort and pack shelter supplies. These members arrived on Tuesday, February 14th and stayed until Tuesday, February 28th.

The remaining six CADT members, comprised of three members from the American Red Cross San Diego/Imperial Counties, one member from the Northern California Coastal Region, one member from the Los Angeles Region, and one additional California Safe Corps member were assigned to the Chico Shelter to support shelter operations. These members performed various duties including registration check-in and admin support for the shelter. These members arrived on Tuesday, February 14th and stayed until Friday, February 24th.

CaliforniaVolunteers also worked with the Pacific Region NCCC Campus and Red Cross to deploy four NCCC teams to support shelter operations at the Red Cross shelter in Chico. The first team of 13 NCCC team members arrived at 11:30am on Sunday, February 12th, just hours after the shelter was opened. Additional NCCC teams arrived to assist throughout the time that the shelter opened. All told, 43 NCCC team members assisted shelter operations in Chico, with the last team leaving when the shelter was closed on Friday, February 24th. NCCC has additional teams available to assist with other storm response efforts as needed.

Published by

American Red Cross California Gold Country Region

The California Gold Country Region serves a twenty-six county territory including Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo, and Yuba counties

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