Archive

Monthly Archives: June 2016

Last week’s tragic event in Orlando left the nation reeling as one could only be shocked and saddened by the violence of the horrific shooting.  It seems every day the media fills our newsfeeds with devastating events, both natural and manmade, impacting one person to an entire town or even state.  As this information continues to overload us, human nature begs the question, what can I do?  How can I help?

The mission of the American Red Cross states that we “prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.”  Volunteers are the heart of our organization. In fact over 90% of our workforce is comprised of volunteers.  They are the ones providing direct assistance to communities that need it.  We support the local community, county and state, in a variety of ways.

So how can you help?  One way… volunteer with the American Red Cross.

If you’ve been keeping a close eye on incidents throughout the country, you’ve seen that Texas has had historic flooding over the last few months.  It’s once again been pummeled with rain and subsequently more flooding; in fact emergency officials estimate 6,000 homes affected in this latest round.  The Red Cross is still there helping.  More than 400 Red Cross volunteers from all over the country are in Texas, operating and supporting 17 shelters, providing meals and helping to assess the damage and distributing relief supplies.  Red Cross mental health workers are helping people cope, as many have been hit with flood damage more than once.  Health workers are assisting with minor first aid needs and helping to replace things like lost medications and eyeglasses.

Soon after the Orlando shooting, the Red Cross was providing comfort where possible, including providing food, and water to first responders in the immediate aftermath and supporting a community vigil with refreshments, health services and behavioral health assistance.  Over the coming days, we’ll continue to provide support, determining how we can best support the community, working alongside our partners.

By becoming a Red Cross volunteer, you have an opportunity to not only help your community, but communities like yours throughout the country.  You’ll receive free disaster training to prepare yourself in activities, so when disasters strike, you can help.  Disaster Services is one piece of the puzzle when it comes to volunteer opportunities and ways to help.  Donating blood, providing presentations on preparing for disasters, supporting the Armed Forces and our Veterans, International Services such as tracing inquires, Health and Safety training (CPR/First Aid), or participating in events such as smoke alarm installation rallies, are a variety of ways our volunteers help.

Start small and grow.  As we multiply our workforce, we will be better equipped to prepare, respond and help communities recover.  Be the change in your community.  Deliver hope to those that need it.  Be a part of an organization whose vision of being there in a time of need, turning compassion into action, is met.

Interested in becoming a Red Cross volunteer?  Visit www.redcross.org/volunteer

Many people consider themselves lucky to have never been evacuated to an emergency shelter.  However, for many others across the country, they tell a different story.  Whether sheltered because of power outages from a winter storm,  suffered a large apartment fire or severe flooding, experienced devastation from a tornado, evacuated because of a wildfire, all scenarios that have happened, and all scenarios in which the American Red Cross has been there in support.

Red Cross has an obligation when it comes to sheltering and we want others to know our commitment to our communities.  Our commitment as shelter workers is to take care of the sheltering needs of people affected by disaster. We are committed to providing shelter on an interim basis while those who experienced a disaster arrange for their recovery or until they are able to return home. We demonstrate this through our sheltering philosophy.  As an organization, we pride ourselves on these concepts which focus on shelters as a place of comfort and safety, making it readily accessible to affected individuals, and they must provide a safe and secure environment that accommodates the broadest range of needs in our communities.

In partnership with Chester County Department of Emergency Services, a mass care exercise was conducted this past weekend.  Disaster volunteers from all over the region participated in the exercise in Chester County at Valley Forge Middle School, which helped to prepare our workforce in sheltering through hands-on experience.  Over 40 volunteers participated and practiced activities such as, dormitory (setting up cots in the sleeping area), feeding, information (how we would distribute important messaging), and registration.  From team workers to shelter managers, who manage all aspects of the shelter, everyone worked together, taking advantage of the learning opportunity.

No one agency can take care of an entire community.  During a disaster we partner with local organizations and groups, working together for the same cause.  Participants in this exercise included  Chester County Department of Emergency Services, Chester County Animal Response Team, Disaster Crisis Outreach and Referral Team (DCORT), Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES)/Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES), Chester County Food Bank, Tredyffrin-Easttown School District, and Tredyffrin Township.

rco_blog_img_masscare

This was a great opportunity for our volunteer workforce to train and practice under an exercise to better prepare them with the skills and knowledge of what to do during an actual disaster.  They are prepared to help communities throughout our region and across the country by providing excellent service.  Disaster training is free for our volunteers and we encourage leadership roles with our volunteers who are interested in that responsibility.  If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering for the Red Cross visit, www.redcross.org/volunteer to join our team today.