By Geena Martinez
MIDLAND - They help West Texans in times of crisis, but lately, the local Red Cross has been working overtime.
They've been so busy lately; they're taking steps now to hopefully make a difference later.
We're just two months into 2011 but the Red Cross is already in high demand. They've helped more than 60 clients recover from disasters since January.
"For 2010, we assisted about 434 clients for the entire year," James Parks, Director of Emergency Services for the Red Cross, said. "We're just concerned and we're monitoring it very close."
Officials are worried the growing number of clients so early on in the year could take a toll on what they do.
"We have 120 volunteers for 26 counties but at certain times of the year, we don't always have that many volunteers that are able to respond," Parks said.
Their response area spans 48,000 square miles.
"Natural concerns are that we burn out our volunteers that we have," Parks said.
And with all the services they provide.
"Food, clothing, shelter, medication, eyeglasses, it really is a case by case basis," Parks said.
They're worried they could run out of funds. Parks said they're usually called out to help victims of house fires so they want to work with local fire departments to prevent more disasters from happening.
"We'd love to collaborate with them in providing smoke detectors to apartment complexes or families or neighborhoods, with neighborhood association so that we can talk about fire safety," he said. "Sometimes fires happen for many reasons but we just want people to be safe, take care of their family and save a life."
They're also looking to recruit at least 10 volunteers in those 26 counties to bring their numbers up.
And money or no money, the Red Cross will be ready to get people back on their feet.
"We're going to be there," Parks said. "Do we need it? Absolutely. But we're still going to be there."
The Red Cross is holding a practice disaster drill this weekend in Pecos to get them better prepared to respond.
Parks said they can always use more help so if you'd like to donate time or money, just give them a call at 432-563-2267.