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CNA/NNOC Nurse Volunteers Deployed To Southern California Firestorm

Press Release Press Release, 10/25/07

Contact Information | Media Center

For Immediate Release
October 25, 2007

The California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee has sent volunteer registered nurses through its Registered Nurse Response Network (RNRN) to Southern California to assist in responding to the spreading disaster created by wildfires in the region.

Two contingents of volunteer RNs were deployed to shelters in San Diego County in response to an appeal from the San Diego Emergency Medical Services agency and RNRN’s own needs assessments done by staff in the field. The nurses are currently staffing the Faith Chapel, near the Harris fire located in Spring Valley, which is home to 100 evacuees and their pets and “The Rock” a mega church and one of the main evacuation shelters where many patients from skilled nursing facilities were relocated.

Christina Talley and Deborah Morgan, RNRN volunteers staffing the Faith Chapel shelter, are both emergency room RNs and sisters who work at Hemet Valley Hospital. They are not new to disaster relief. Both were deployed by CNA to New Orleans, seven weeks after Hurricane Katrina devastated the region and created their own clinic out of a shipping container in City Park. Twelve years ago they drove down to Northridge Hospital after the earthquake and set up a makeshift emergency room in their family’s motor home and also volunteered during the Cedar’s firestorm that occurred four years ago today.

“We are concerned that patient needs continue to be evaluated once the cameras go away and the news disappears from the front pages,” said Talley.

RNRN began the volunteer recruitment effort Tuesday with calls and e-mail alerts to RNs, and with a posting on the RNRN website http://www.calnurses.org/rnrn. Additionally, RNRN is in ongoing contact with all seven counties’ Emergency Medical Services agencies in assessing the need for experienced registered nurses throughout the region’s emergency shelters and healthcare facilities and contacting other local agencies and facilities to determine where other support is needed.

RNRN was developed by CNA/NNOC in response to the Gulf Coast calamity following Hurricane Katrina. In the first weeks after Katrina, CNA/NNOC dispatched more than 300 volunteer RNs from across the country to 25 hospitals, clinics, and mobile units in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. CNA/NNOC volunteers also traveled to Sri Lanka to provide disaster relief following the tsunami disaster of the winter of 2005.

RNRN provides support and coordination for volunteer nurses when disaster strikes, allowing RNs to focus on providing patient care. RNRN arranges airfare, lodging, and meals for all volunteers, and works with federal and state agencies to resolve issues of medical credentials and licenses for out-of-state nurse volunteers.

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