Wading Through the Floodwaters of Red Cross Red Tape


After a week of radio silence following my Mass Care/Sheltering training, I got an email from the Red Cross to show up for a DSHR briefing, ostensibly the last step before being deployed. So last Friday morning I and about 50 other people made our way to Red Cross HQ for the briefing.

Basically it was another two-hour PowerPoint presentation, going over issues we’ve covered before, like the mission of the Red Cross and the services they provide, and an introduction to the slew of paperwork required to be added to the DSHR team. The application itself isn’t too bad, just basic things like previous training, language skills, health history and the like, but the number of waivers, releases, consent forms, and other paperwork is truly daunting. There’s so much focus on the details of plane and rental car reservations, staff debit cards, intake forms, out-take forms, and the like that the reality of the situation in the Gulf is almost obscured. It’s as if with enough bureaucratic activity we’ll be able to rationalize our “clients'” lives back to normal.

Anyway, the upshot of it all is that I filled out and handed in my official DSHR application, informed them of my availability (now!), and was properly warned about the hardships to come, e.g., extreme heat, lack of toilet & shower facilities, poor accommodations, and the overall stressful environment. Sounds great to me. I’ll be sure to pack sunscreen, extra batteries, a first aid kit, and my own personal roll of toilet paper. So when do I get my 24-hour notice? I’ll be sure to let you know.

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update: BUY Karina Came Calling, the blog book I made of my Red Cross volunteer experiences. KCC is a limited-edition, 100 print-run, black-and-white, digest-sized, saddle-stitched, 102 pp. booklet. All for $5, plus $2 shipping, via PayPal.

11 thoughts on “Wading Through the Floodwaters of Red Cross Red Tape

  1. Might I Suggest
    Wear a Hat (a given)
    Pocket rain poncho
    A good map and a compass
    Swiss Army Knife
    A good pair of UV sunglasses, even goggles if you can. When I walked to Baltamore I was out in the sun for 16 hours a day. I took care with the suntan lotion, but My retinas (retinae?) got tanned the first day.
    Start drinking water now! To prepare for desert combat, soldiers MUST drink 6 gallons of water per day just to get aclimated to the environment.
    Lots of luck.
    Looking forward to hearing about your trip.

    1. Re: Might I Suggest
      those are great suggestions, esp. the sunglasses and the water thing. personally, i always drink a ton of water every day, so hopefully i’ll be used to that (assuming there will be drinkable water easily available). the sunglasses thing is smart, especially because i usually don’t wear them at all — too difficult to find clip-ons for my normal frames (thus the moniker, ). i’m hoping not to need a compass, as i don’t expect to tromping through the uncharted wilderness, but, what the hell, i’ll bring a compas since i actually own a good one.

  2. Also
    A good hard shoe, with a heel on it.
    And lots of clean socks.
    Blisters and polluted dampness is a very bad combination.
    I always carry a needle and a book of matches for foot care. Bactine would also be good.

    1. Re: Also
      i have some great Mephisto boots my dad bought for me when i went backpacking 10+ years ago. they’ve been through jungles and rivers, volcanoes and exotic city streets, but they still have their soles and are in great shape.
      i definitely agree about socks (esp. since i have a disturbing tendency to have foot & toe problems). i also plan on bringing 3 weeks worth of underwear, as i may not have a chance to do laundry.
      the r.c. encouraged me to bring clothes i may not mind throwing out when the deployment is over. so i may just buy a bunch of hanes t-shirts.
      and i’ve got the needles, Bactine, etc. in my cool 1st aid kit.
      here some other things they told me to pack:

      flashlight & extra batteries
      hand sanitizer
      baby wipes (as a shower alternative)
      extra eyeglasses
      lip balm
      sleeping bag or bed linens
      empty pillowcase or portable pillow
      ziploc bags
      “a way to secure personal items”

  3. Man, I love those chubby gams…ever since she started eating “real” food, Evie’s legs’ve started looking more and more like a stack of snow tires!

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