Red Cross volunteer Travis Clancy arrived in the Mohawk Valley the Monday after Halloween, one of more than 80 Red Cross workers mobilized to help people affected by the recent floods. He was on his first official disaster deployment since joining the Red Cross just two months earlier, back home in Plattsburgh, NY.
As a new volunteer, Travis had just completed much of his Disaster Action Team training to respond to local home fires and other emergencies, but he didn’t stop there. Travis also enrolled in a Red Cross CPR & First Aid course to learn what to do in the event of a medical emergency. Little did he know that this non-disaster training would come in to play during his first major disaster response.
It was his second day on the job as a damage assessment volunteer, and Travis was out with a team in Dolgeville, NY. Traveling down North Main Street, he was documenting damage and destruction from the floods to help guide the Red Cross’ ongoing relief effort. While he was talking with a fellow Red Cross responder, he heard someone shout, “Are you okay?”
Travis turned to see a young woman lying on the ground with a crowd of people surrounding her. He rushed over and his Red Cross training immediately kicked in.
I said, “I’m Travis with the American Red Cross. Are you okay?”
The young woman was awake and alert but clearly in pain. Observing the scene, Travis determined that she had fallen when attempting to step down from a crumbling porch that had been severely damaged by the floods. Her palms were bleeding and covered with dirt and debris, and she couldn’t move her foot.
Not knowing the full extent of her injuries, Travis urged the rest of the crowd to refrain from trying to move the young woman. Eventually, she sat up on her own, but complained of pain in her ankle. Travis checked and found that her ankle and foot were quite swollen, but she insisted that she did not need or want an ambulance called to the scene. Due to damage from the floods and a lack of electricity in the area, resources to treat the young woman’s injuries on site were sparse, but Travis did his best with what he had. The woman’s mother was able to find some bandages, and Travis cleaned and wrapped her wounded hands and offered his advice about her ankle.
“It was a good feeling to know that not only was I on the scene at the right time – I was actually qualified to help her. It made me feel like Superman.”
We happen to think that most Red Cross volunteers have a little something in common with Superman, given the way they rush in to help when most people are rushing out. It’s certainly true of the 80+ volunteers who have spent the last two weeks working around the clock to provide care and comfort to people across the Mohawk Valley and beyond.
Besides Travis’ on-the-spot provision of First Aid, trained Red Cross responders have made more than 350 individual care contacts to support people’s health and mental health needs during this disaster. To learn more about how the Red Cross helps people after disasters like floods and countless other crises big and small, please visit redcross.org.