BENEFITING: American Red Cross
EVENT DATE: Jun 16, 2013
HOURS PLEDGED: 150
The Red Cross operates the Jerome H. Holland blood laboratory in Rockville, Maryland. Each year, the Red Cross invests more than $25 million in research activities at the Holland Laboratory and in the field.
The Red Cross is also treating people using cellular therapies; this new method of treatment involves collecting and treating blood cells from a patient or other blood donor. The treated cells are then introduced into a patient to help revive normal cell function; replace cells that are lost as a result of disease, accidents or aging; or used to prevent illnesses from appearing.
Cellular therapy may prove to be particularly helpful for patients who are being treated for illnesses such as cancer, where the treated cells may help battle cancerous cells.
Health and safety services
The American Red Cross provides first aid, Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), Automated external defibrillator (AED), water safety and lifeguarding, babysitting, disaster preparedness, and home safety training throughout the United States. The training programs are primarily aimed at laypersons, workplaces, and aquatic facilities. The American Red Cross teaches around 12 million Americans these skills annually, ranging from youth to professional rescuers. In 2005 the American Red Cross co-led the 2005 Guidelines for First Aid, which aims to provide up-to-date and peer-reviewed first aid training materials.
Many American Red Cross chapters also have for sale first aid kits, disaster kits, and similar, related equipment. Many chapters of the American Red Cross offer pet first aid courses to prepare pet owners and pet professionals for emergency situations. The American Red Cross also offers a pet first aid reference guide. This guide includes a 50-minute DVD that informs viewers about safety procedures and instructs on dealing with medical emergencies.
American Red Cross providing assistance during the 1994 Northridge earthquake
An American Red Cross vehicle distributing food to Grand Forks, North Dakota victims of the 1997 Red River flood
An American Red Cross Disaster Action Team responding to a house fire in Detroit, Michigan.
Each year, the American Red Cross responds to more than 70,000 disasters, including house or apartment fires (the majority of disaster responses), hurricanes, floods, earthquakes,tornadoes, hazardous materials spills, transportation accidents, explosions, and other natural and man-made 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 granted a congressional charter 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 a grant of power, but also an imposition of duties and obligations to the nation, to disaster victims, and to the people who support its work with their donations.
American Red Cross disaster relief focuses on meeting people's immediate emergency disaster-caused needs. When a disaster threatens or strikes, the Red Cross provides shelter, food, and health and mental health services to address basic human needs. In addition to these services, the core of Red Cross disaster relief is the assistance given to individuals and families affected by disaster to enable them to resume their normal daily activities independently. The organization also provides translation and interpretation to those affected when necessary, and maintains adatabase of multilingual volunteers to enable this.
At the local level, American Red Cross chapters operate volunteer-staffed Disaster Action Teams that respond to disasters in their communities, such as house fires or floods.
The Red Cross also feeds emergency workers of other agencies, handles inquiries from concerned family members outside the disaster area, provides blood and blood products to disaster victims, and helps those affected by disaster to access other available resources. It is a member of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) and works closely with other agencies such as the Salvation Army and the Amateur Radio Emergency Service with whom it has Memorandums of Understanding.
The American Red Cross also works to encourage preparedness by providing important literature on readiness. Many chapters also offer free classes to the general public.
A major misconception by the general public is that the American Red Cross provides medical facilities, engages in search and rescue operations or deploys ambulances to disaster areas. As an emergency support agency, the American Red Cross does not engage in these first responder activities; instead, these first responder roles are left to local, state or federal agencies as dictated by the National Response Framework.
The confusion arises since other Red Cross societies across the globe may provide these functions; for example, the Cruz Roja Mexicana(Mexican Red Cross) runs a national ambulance service. Furthermore, American Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) look similar to ambulances. These ERVs instead are designed for bulk distribution of relief supplies, such as hot meals, drinks or other relief supplies. Although American Red Cross shelters usually have a nurse assigned to the facility, they are not equipped to provide medical care beyond emergency first aid.
Disaster Services Human Resources system
The Disaster Services Human Resources (DSHR) system enrolls volunteers from individual American Red Cross chapters into a national database of responders, classified by their ability to serve in one or more Activities within Groups. The activities vary from obvious ones such as feeding and sheltering ("Mass Care") to more specialized ones such as warehousing, damage assessment, financial accounting, radio and computer communications, public affairs and counseling. Responders must complete training requirements specific to the Activities they wish to serve in, as well as the basics required of all Disaster Service volunteers, which include a background check as well as training in First Aid,
National Response Framework
As a National Response Framework support agency, the American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides other types of emergency relief to victims of disasters. The American Red Cross is also a co-lead with FEMA for the mass care portion of the Emergency Support Function 6. This role gives the American Red Cross the joint responsibility for planning and coordinating mass care services with FEMA. The American Red Cross also has responsibilities under other Emergency Support Functions, such as providing health and mental health services