I have often referred to the American Red Cross as one of the two most helpful websites (www.redcross.org) for disaster preparedness. (The other being FEMA’s website, www.ready.gov). Established in 1881 by Clara Barton, the American Red Cross now boasts over 650 chapters nationwide staffed by more than a million volunteers and 30,000 paid employees. Among the many facets of their mission is “reconnection” after disasters. Helping people find people. Whether displaced by hurricanes, earthquakes or tornadoes, their registry locator system has helped many reconnect with loved ones after an emergency event.
At this moment the Red Cross is on the scene in California where at least two wildfires have burned thousands of acres, forcing many families to leave their homes. Red Cross workers opened shelters and Emergency Response Vehicles are distributing relief supplies in several of the impacted areas. Millions of homes across the country are near woodlands and could someday be in the path of a wildfire. The Red Cross offers tips on what to do before, during and after a wildfire so you can better protect yourself and your loved ones.
Every year thousands take their first aid training and millions carry a card in their wallet attesting to their abilities to apply first aid in an emergency.
Every veteran knows they are always on scene with military personnel helping G.I.s stay connected with their families. One of their little-known services is the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces program (SAF). In the event of an emergency at home, a call to the American Red Cross (877-272-7337) will guarantee that your military relative will be notified and in some cases, flown home. Often within 24 hours.
The American Red Cross supplies 40% of our nation’s blood to hospitals. They respond to over 70,000 emergencies annually including house and apartment fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, hazardous materials spills, transportation accidents and explosions. Working closely with Salvation Army and Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), they often feed aid workers volunteering for other agencies.
I am an advocate of any organization that is as well prepared and ready to respond in the face of an emergency as the American Red Cross. The training offered by them is always top-notch. Topics offered range from lifeguard classes to first aid to CPR to wilderness and remote first aid, to babysitting and caregiving. Other training will prepare you as a volunteer and will even qualify you as a Red Cross Instructor. It’s all about you becoming a part of the team of first responders our communities will need in the event of a catastrophe. I am a firm believer we are not placed on this planet to just make a living, but to make a difference.
For more information check out www.redcross.org. You will find links to get involved locally and enough information to Get a Kit, Make a Plan, and Be Informed. As always contact me for questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dave Robinson is a retired Postmaster and the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us,” available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and other online booksellers.