The American Red Cross is an organization that is synonymous with emergency care and support for those in need. Despite all of this, some people still have the wrong idea about the role of the American Red Cross. There is the common assumption that this is an agency that comes in for major incidents and international disaster relief efforts.
The reality is that they are on hand to help in a range of scenarios. Any American town under threat from the natural disaster or major catastrophe is on their radar. However, they will also help in smaller scale issues where needed.
One minute they will be treating the wounded and homeless after a hurricane, they next they will promote fire safety for the average home. In fact, they claim to deal with as many as 64,000 incidents a year.
The American Red Cross are one of the first agencies on the scene, and their impact can be substantial.
When one of these disasters hits, such as a freak weather event, major fire or another humanitarian incident, the American Red Cross are straight there. They will arrive on the scene in their ERVs to assess the scene and offer help. These ERVs are their mobile emergency response vehicles.
These units are full of helpful aids of different forms, ready to deal with the incident in a fast, efficient manner. The organization uses a broad range of resources to provide different and effective care. They include the following.
1. Food And Water Supplies:
We cannot underestimate the importance of clean water and nourishing food in any emergency. It is easy to think of poor diet and water supplies about large-scale disaster relief missions. There is just as much need in small-scale emergencies.
A community that loses access to running water or the means to make a meal is one in need. The American Red Cross starts by providing this source of sustenance through emergency response vehicles. They can quickly arrive on scene so no family goes without them.
2) Shelter And Warmth:
The same applies to housing. These emergency response vehicles can attend an area with ease to provide basic shelter needs and blankets for warmth. It can ensure that local families don’t have to spend the night alone in the cold.
The American Red Cross will also open up shelters with bed spaces and a secure roof over the users’ heads. It is an essential resource in areas hit by floods, storms and other disasters where a home is no longer safe. This shelters also double as feeding stations for those hot meals.
3) Physical And Mental Health Care:
Depending on the circumstances and the need for disaster relief, there will also be appropriate health care provision for those in need. In some cases, this will mean emergency care for the sick and wounded. A simple first aid provision from an American Red Cross worker and this physical support can provide immediate care and reduce pressure on hospitals.
Some shelters will also work with attendees to deal with prescription medicines and healthcare aids that they may have lost. One of the most valuable resources in this instance is blood. These heath care providers and volunteers can transport blood packs to disaster areas for vital transfusions.
This is why the organization carries out so many blood drives. Every donation counts and could make a substantial difference. They currently receive 5.6 million donations a year from 3.3 million volunteers. This equates to 8 million products that are then used as transfusions.
Of course, it is not just the physical health care and emergency aid provided by the American Red Cross that is so valuable. There is also the emotional support and guidance. The organization uses experts and volunteers in both physical and mental health.
The later can help to provide comfort and support in times of stress and anxiety. For some, the presence of the American Red Cross alone could be enough to assure them that the matter is under some control.
4) Other Emergency Supplies Offered By The Agency:
The main aim of the American Red Cross in these disaster relief missions is to provide stability and care where it is lacking. This can mean the provision of a range of items that may add a sense of normality and calm to those in need. One of the best examples of this is with their “comfort kits.”
These kits contain a selection of supplies for personal use. They not only help users to freshen up and feel more like themselves, but they also help them to go through a routine. This includes a toothbrush with toothpaste, some deodorant, and shampoo to wash their hair.
These kits can be easily collected from designated distribution centers. Other items of use to find here are tarpaulin sheets to protect property, tools, and objects to help homeowners get back on track.
None of this help in disaster relief would be possible without the work of keen, reliable volunteers.
While there are those medical and mental health experts on call, and other officials, 95% of the work comes from volunteers. The organization relies on the generous nature of everyday people and their time and patience to help in a disaster. To improve the potential of these volunteer workforce, the American Red Cross also offer training opportunities.
There are courses available in Lifeguarding, water safety, general caregiving, and babysitting. While they may seem broad and simple to a degree, this can be useful in many areas. This includes working in flooded areas, with families in crisis and with the children of lost or injured people.
Some may only know the American Red Cross as the volunteer nurses that come round to take their blood. There is clearly much more to this organization in the care provided and the other resource they distribute. Donors are therefore encouraged to not only return to the vans but to think about the wider work of this organization. If a disaster were to hit in their community – whether fire, flood or tornado – the American Red Cross would be there.