Story and photos by Vivi Engen, American Red Cross Intern, Minnesota Region
During large-scale disasters, Red Cross nurses serve as the initial medical response at a shelter. They assess basic medical needs of clients and address quick and easy fixes, such as a cut or sprain. Anything more severe is treated at a hospital.
To speed nursing response during disaster, the Disaster Health Services team in Minnesota recently introduced a nursing kit that will be used at shelters during responses across the state.
The kit, which is condensed inside a single duffle bag, provides a quick-response supply for up to 50 individuals. Supplies include over-the-counter medication, wound dressings, CPR masks, bandages, protective gear and more.
“The kit provides the nursing staff with the materials needed to serve as a starting point for clients,” says Kami Buccellato, the Twin Cities Deputy Lead for Disaster Health Services and one of the creators of the nursing kit. “It’s still a work in progress, but we have already seen good results.”
Earlier this year, the kit was used for the first time at a shelter after an apartment fire. Disaster Health Services received positive feedback on the condensed bag and was happy to report that the kit contained its critical response supplies.
The idea for a nursing kit surfaced when responders showed up to shelters with duplicated supplies. “Duplicated supplies decreases efficiency,” says Buccellato. “In a disaster setting, everything is already chaotic, so anything that we can do to increase organization helps.”
The American Red Cross is always looking for new nurses who are ready to be put on the disaster scene. “Any nurse looking to gain experience, meet new people, and share knowledge is welcome in Disaster Health Services,” says Buccellato.
Are you a nurse? Have you ever thought about volunteering? If so, the Red Cross wants you. To apply, click here.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation’s blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. The Minnesota Region serves 5.2 million people across Minnesota and part of western Wisconsin with offices in Duluth, Mankato, Minneapolis, Rochester and St. Cloud. For more information, please visit redcross.org/mn. Like us on Facebook: American Red Cross Minnesota Region. Follow us on Twitter: @mnredcross
3 Replies to “What does a Red Cross nurse do during disaster?”
Help! I am trying to put together a “disaster Health Services Nursing Kit” for my region and I can not find a contents list anywhere on the ARC sites. Can you help with this?
Hello DHS coworkers. I have been ARC DHS since 2007 and manage DHS shelter ops for 26 counties (in fact I am the only DHS for those counties).
Can you confirm that ProPack and PickPack are the “Nurse’s Shelter Kit” suppliers for ARC/ DHS. Thank you and safe journeys.
To answer your question, while ProPack had previously been a distributor for the PickPAK® DHS Nursing Kits, they eventually deviated from the integrity of the kit by removing the patented PickPAK® products. So PickPAK® is the only provider of the official DHS Nursing Kit that you see here, which was developed in partnership with the Red Cross. You can find the kits and all our products at our website, http://www.pickpak.com, and we’d be happy to chat further if you have any other questions.