I am a registered volunteer with the American Red Cross. I signed up back in 2009 when they were concerned about flooding in the area and thought they would have to open up multiple shelters because of it. In fact, we were told it wasn't a matter of whether or not flooding would occur, but when. At our house, we readied a room for visitors. We figured that if someone was displaced and came to us through our church, we would be ready for them. We even went so far as to buy a memory foam futon so they could have a comfy bed. The flooding never came.
I didn't receive any emails requesting volunteers for shelters until I was pregnant and unable to help. After giving birth, I was of course busy with my newborn daughter. She's now a toddler, and I figure that if I need to every once in a while, I can volunteer as long as my husband is available to watch her for at least the majority of the time I will be volunteering.
This month, I have volunteered at 2 different shelters about 2 weeks apart. Both shelters were opened because of apartment fires. And while I was working at the shelter last night, we heard of another apartment fire that might create a need for the shelter to stay open and expand to accommodate more people.
At this time of year, there are many fire resulting from decorations and the like. Please be safe!