Hurricane Florence: Here's How Nurses Can Help
By Angelina Gibson
Are you ready to help those affected by Hurricane Florence and the catastrophic flooding in Texas but don’t know how to get involved? We encourage all nurses who are able to volunteer to do so but, it’s important to join a response system that is well organized.
Here, we’ve compiled a list of ways nurses can help whether you are located within the disaster areas or, afar.
At this time, the states most heavily affected by hurricane Florence and the flooding include Texas and North Carolina - they are not formally soliciting volunteers. But, help is still needed!
As reported on the Texas Board Of Nursing’s website, Governor Abbott declared a disaster in certain Texas coastal counties likely to be affected by a tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico.
Due to the disaster, the Board has made a few exceptions to their licensure requirements. They are permitting “nurses licensed in good standing and employed in another state to render nursing care in the counties affected.” Furthermore, the Board stated that “Nurses who hold a multistate license under the Nurse Licensure Compact may practice in Texas without prior authorization from the Board of Nursing.”
If you are a nurse who would like to volunteer, you may do so by contacting the Texas Department of State Health Services Texas Disaster Volunteer Registry.
Nurses wishing to volunteer in current or future disasters are encouraged to register with the Texas Nurses Association Response Management System.
The North Carolina Board of Nursing has not put a call out for volunteers. However, the Board reported on its website that it, “allows out-of-state nurses to practice during a disaster in an established healthcare system or facility, provided the nurse has a valid, unencumbered license in another state. Licensure information can be verified easily through "Nursys QuickConfirm License Verification." Contact [email protected] for additional information if you're a licensed out-of-state nurse interested in helping or an employer that needs help.”
Volunteer needed in North Carolina, if you are able you may apply now online at American Red Cross of Eastern North Carolina,
The site states,
Volunteers are needed in eastern North Carolina to help support Hurricane Florence relief efforts. We need help maintaining and setting up sheltering facilities, registering clients, maintaining client information, serving meals, and general housekeeping.
If you live in eastern North Carolina and are willing to volunteer for a 6-12 hour shift, please apply now.
Lastly, it is beneficial to be prepared by registering with the North Carolina Response Management System.
Volunteering From Out Of State:
By volunteering your nursing services in a disaster-stricken area not only are you helping the community there but, you are helping your fellow nurses who live locally who need to tend to their affairs. Here is how to volunteer:
- Register with your state’s Emergency Management Department now; disaster-stricken states will reach out to other states for resources as needed when disaster strikes.
- Get signed up to volunteer with the American Red Cross by visiting their website or calling their hotline (866)526-8300
- If you simply want to volunteer, anyway possible, and not necessarily practice as a nurse - we absolutely encourage you to do so! VOAD, The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster is a great resource to connect volunteers with areas of high need.
If you are unable to be on the ground in the areas affected by natural disasters you can still help!
- The American Red Cross has mobilized 1,500 disaster workers to provide relief to areas devasted by Hurricane Florence. You can make a donation to Red Cross online.
- GlobalGiving is a nonprofit crowdfunding organization that supports local charities in affected areas - Text FLORENCE to 80100 to donate $10 and they are accepting donations for their Hurricane Florence relief fund.
- Let everyone know that Airbnb is waiving all service fees for people affected by the hurricane.
Storm Set To Rage On
Areas of North Carolina have received upwards of 30 inches as the storm continues it’s slow churn across the Carolinas and Virginia. Storm conditions are set to worsen, officials warned. Many residents are stranded and rescue efforts are well underway.
During Hurricane Harvey, last year, many people took to social media to seek emergency help. Officials advise against using social media to seek rescue - instead, call 911.
As the hurricane and flooding continue this remains a developing story. Check back here for updates.