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Red Cross finds tech solution to coordinate disaster volunteers

When disaster strikes, like the heavy rainfall and floods in upstate New York in late June and early July, many people want to help their neighbors in need but don't know where to direct their volunteer efforts. Now, the American Red Cross has released a new mobile application that it hopes will solve that problem.

The Team Red Cross app is making disaster relief more accessible to communities. Chief Communications Officer Matt Michael says this will make a big difference in community response.

"It's an easy way for people who want to respond - we call them spontaneous volunteers - when there's a disaster whether it's in your backyard or across the country and they want to help, this is a way they can quickly respond," he said.

Users receive notifications when disasters hit their communities and can instantly confirm if they can help and what job they would like to do. Michael says this app could have helped streamline the mass amounts of volunteers who came to help recent central New York flood victims.

"We had 300 people just volunteer to help out. We're not able to put them all to work just because of the logistics of getting them all signed up."

Last month, several rounds of flooding damaged over 500 homes in the Mohawk Valley region and other parts of upstate New York. The Red Cross and volunteers helped distribute over 7,500 meals and about 2,200 clean up kits in the area.

You can download the app at App Stores and the American Red Cross website.