Many people have heard of the Red Cross, but they don’t exactly know what it is. They know that the American Red Cross is always asking for money or blood, but many citizens, in America or abroad, don’t know what it’s all about. Since 1905, the American Red Cross has assisted families, countries, people, pets, children, and the elderly during the most frightening moments in their lives.
In a year’s time, The American Red Cross can respond to over 65,000 disasters. House fires, where they’re called upon the most, leave families with no food, shelter, or money. The Red Cross steps in to assist the families by offering them temporary assistance and resources. Besides fires, the American Red Cross assists during the aftermath of tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, winter storms, earthquakes, explosions, or hazardous waste spills.
They provide generators, first aid to pets, organ donations, nursing services, and foster homes. In addition to helping the families of disasters, the Red Cross also gives blood to victims, medications to those who cannot get it, and provides mental health assistance to ones who are in shock, they also give help to emergency workers, contact family members of those involved in the disaster, and later, help the communities rebuild, if necessary.
Although the Red Cross recommends that homes and businesses prepare in advance for such emergencies, such as storing extra food and water, keeping emergency medical supplies on hand, and being aware of terrorist threats, if a disaster does occur, they are often the first ones to arrive.
Upon arrival, they assess the damages, dispatch helpers to look for and assist the injured, begin setting up temporary shelters, arrange for massive amounts of food, clean water, and medical supplies to be carried in, and provide funds and additional services where needed.
They work with the area police, fire department, social workers, and health givers to further provide assistance for victims and their families. In addition to providing immediate relief in disaster areas, the Red Cross is also responsible for collecting half of America’s total blood supply.
It’s not unusual for the Red Cross to stay in an area for a year or more if need be. From initially helping victims get medical services and food, to rebuilding homes, businesses, and townships, the American Red Cross will not leave the area until they are certain that the citizens are in a position to be left on their own. The Red Cross is dedicated, determined, and plays no favorites to color, race, or territory.
Although the American Red Cross was founded in America, they now assist with disaster relief in every area of the world. To accomplish this, the Red Cross relies on volunteers who can donate time, money, equipment, medical supplies, and other goods.
Over a million volunteers offer their services to help the Red Cross restore order, and being a volunteer doesn’t mean you’ll be sent to another country. Volunteers can be managers or advisors, serve on various boards, teach first aid, talk to school kids about what to do in case of an emergency, or help raise money locally. Even children can be volunteers.
Kids can start a club at school to encourage others to donate time, money, and blood. Visit the American Red Cross web site or your local chapter to volunteer or to find out more.