Red Cross coming to North Tahoe and Truckee |

Red Cross coming to North Tahoe and Truckee

When a late February snow storm slammed the Sierra Nevada and brought Interstate-80 to a screeching halt, it became apparent that a greater number of emergency volunteers were needed locally, prompting the Red Cross to take action.

The Red Cross is in the early stages of establishing two local disaster action teams with volunteers from Truckee and the North Shore.

“Right now, there is nobody up here who is volunteering for the Red Cross and taking care of things,” said co-director Lynn Felsch. “We need people who can drive, get a call at midnight and respond.”

When I-80 closed last month and stranded hundreds of travelers in Truckee, the Medical Reserve Corps ” a group of local medical and public-health volunteers ” was the first to respond and establish an emergency shelter at the Sierra Mountain Community Education Center. But the Reserve Corps does not stockpile materials, such as cots, blankets and hotel vouchers, that are often required in emergency situations.

However, a Red Cross trailer of diapers, cots, blankets and other supplies is already being stored at the Truckee Tahoe airport and is ready to be used, according co-director Phred Stoner.

“The Red Cross had a facility out at the airport, but when the last guy retired, nobody was looking after it,” Stoner said. “I started looking after it, and then decided that it was time for me to be official.”

Currently, the Red Cross chapter closest to Tahoe is the Sierra Sacramento Chapter, but volunteers can be prevented from responding if mountain roads are closed. To fix the problem, at least 24 locals are needed to become trained disaster responders.

Those interested will receive training in basic first-aid and mass care and an introduction to the Red Cross and to disaster response, Felsch said.

“This is for someone who wants to be a part of something that’s bigger than themselves, and who want to do whatever they can, knowing that you only do what you can, when you can,” said Stoner.

For more information, contact Lynn Felsch at

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