When disaster strikes, the Northeast Florida Red Cross is there to help.
By: NEFLRedCross , 10:40 PM GMT on May 05, 2009
From American Red Cross Guide to Services 2009 (PDF File)
Each year, the American Red Cross responds immediately to more than 70,000 disasters, including single-family and apartment home fires (the majority of disaster responses), hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires, tornadoes, hazardous materials spills, transportation accidents, explosions and other natural and human-caused disasters.
Although the American Red Cross is not a government agency, its authority to provide disaster relief was formalized when, in 1905, the Red Cross was chartered by the U.S. Congress to "carry on a system of national and international relief in time of peace and apply the same in mitigating the sufferings caused by pestilence, famine, fire, floods and other great national calamities, and to devise and carry on measures for preventing the same." The charter is not only an assignment of responsibility, but also an obligation to the nation, to disaster victims and to the people who generously support its work with their donations.
Red Cross disaster relief focuses on meeting people’s urgent disaster-caused needs. When a disaster threatens or strikes, the Red Cross provides shelter, food and health and mental health services to meet the basic human needs of those affected, including emergency workers. During times of disaster, the Red Cross provides blood and blood products to disaster victims and helps those affected by disaster to access other available resources.
The American Red Cross is also able to facilitate family communication through its Safe and Well Web site, found on RedCross.org. The Safe and Well Web site allows individuals to register their well-being using messages that can be seen by family and friends inquiring about their loved one’s safety. When inquiries involve individuals with serious pre-existing health and mental health conditions inside a disaster area, Welfare Information Teams search for the vulnerable individuals, get them the help they need and help them reconnect with their worried loved ones.
Emphasizing Disaster Readiness
Disasters deprive families of homes and belongings, cause major disruptions to businesses and cost billions of dollars. This immense social and economic impact can be dramatically reduced if families, businesses and communities take proactive steps to reduce their vulnerabilities. Therefore, disaster readiness and mitigation are priorities of the American Red Cross.
Awareness and Education
We develop and distribute a variety of materials in various languages to educate the public. This includes electronic capabilities, printed and video materials as well as public service announcements (PSAs) and community presentations that inform the public about how to stay safe and protect their homes.
Direct Mitigation and Advocacy
We have partnered with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the insurance industry, emergency management and environment officials, educators, businesses and others who are concerned about the increasing, and often unnecessary, losses caused by disasters. Across the nation, we are working to build a "culture of preparedness" and to limit the harm inflicted on families and communities by disasters.
Be Red Cross Ready
Be Red Cross Ready represents the cooperative efforts of the American Red Cross and the Department of Homeland Security’s Ready Campaign to encourage the public to be more prepared for a disaster or other emergency. This program contains a simple message and a call to action. In today’s climate, it is more important than ever that all of us be prepared for possible emergencies, and there are three actions everyone can take that can help make a difference.
1. Get a Kit. What you have on hand when a disaster happens can make a big difference. Have at least three days of supplies for everyone in your household, including your pets. Include any necessary items for infants, seniors and people with disabilities in your kit. Keep a smaller version of the kit in your vehicle. Information on what to include in a kit is available on RedCross.org.
2. Make a Plan. Planning ahead is the first step to a calmer and more assured disaster response. Design a family communication plan that includes an evacuation plan and coordinates with schools, work and communities’ communication plans.
3. Be Informed. When a major disaster occurs, your community can change in an instant. Knowing what may happen and how you can help may make all the difference when an emergency happens. Make sure that at least one member of your household is trained in first aid, CPR and AED use.
To learn more about the Be Red Cross Ready initiative, go to an online presentation at RedCross.org. The modules, which are available in English and Spanish, contain pictures, audio and video content that helps individuals and their families become safer, healthier and more resilient in the face of an emergency.
American Red Cross Volunteers
The American Red Cross has been able to provide services for more than 125 years in large part because of the tireless and dedicated work of volunteers-known as "Red Crossers." All across the United States, more than half a million Red Crossers help save lives by providing assistance to disaster victims, delivering community education courses and working with millions of volunteer blood donors. This special family includes individuals who help with a single event or who volunteer several times a month. Many Red Crossers have been involved in their communities for 10, 20 or even 80 years, providing lifesaving services and leadership and helping to prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Our volunteers represent their communities, speak many different languages, are of all different ages and represent all races and ethnicities. We invite you to join us. Help make the Red Cross even stronger and better.
A Helping Hand
Among other things, Red Cross volunteers-
• Assist victims of hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, winter storms, wildfires and home fires.
• Provide community disaster education in first aid, CPR/AED, swimming, babysitter preparedness and other classes.
• Donate blood to meet the needs of accident victims, cancer patients and others.
• Help wounded service members with their recovery.
• Help vulnerable people around the world prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at www.redcrosschat.org.
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.