During the month of March, the American Red Cross celebrates its accomplishments and volunteers that help them provide services.
“The Red Cross depends on local heroes to fulfill its mission,” said Debbie Smith, Community Executive, Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross. “The Red Cross responds to a community disaster every eight minutes, providing shelter, food, emotional support and other necessities to those affected. It provides 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families at home and around the world. It must collect 14,000 units of blood every day in order to fulfill the country’s needs. It trains millions of people in first aid, water safety, and other lifesaving skills.”
The Ohio River Valley Red Cross responded to 165 local emergencies, it helped 550 affected individuals and families with emergency food, shelter and supplies, installed 178 smoke detectors, assisted 51 military families, trained 67 people in lifesaving skills, and collected 4,610 units of blood, in fiscal year 2015.
Smith acknowledged one of the things that helps the Red Cross fulfill its mission locally, nationally and internationally is dedicated volunteers. She said one of those volunteers is Tom Frazier.
“He has been a volunteer since 2004. During those 12 years, he has responded to 41 National Disaster deployments from hurricanes, floods, blizzards and home fires just to name a few. It is estimated he has responded to over 500 disasters in the past 12 years. Moreover, Tom had nearly 500 local volunteer hours in 2015. His values mirror those that motivate and inspire the work of the Red Cross,” Smith said.
She said everyone can be a Red Cross Community Hero by following two steps. First, be ready for the next emergency by creating a preparedness plan for your home. If your family does not have a preparedness plan visit redcross.org/preparedness. Second, test your smoke alarms, and ask your neighbors to do the same.
“It’s easy to become a Red Cross community hero,” said Smith “Be ready for an emergency by creating a preparedness plan for your home. Test your smoke detectors and tell your neighbors to do the same. Or sign up to be a Red Cross volunteer, or make a financial donation,” Smith said.
The American Red Cross has launched a fire preparedness campaign aimed at reducing the number of home fires, deaths and injuries, by 25 percent over the next five years.
According to promotional material for the campaign, “Seven times a day someone in this country dies in a home fire. Countless others suffer injuries. The House Fire Preparedness Campaign is happening all over the country and involved Red Cross workers joining with local fire department and community groups to visit neighborhoods at high risk for fires. Those visits include educating people about fire safety through door-to-door visits and installation of smoke alarms in some of those neighborhoods.”
Appointments can be made through the Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross to have workers install smoke alarm in your home. Appointments can be made by calling 740-354-3293.
Smith said, there are a number of ways people can help the Red Cross, sign up to be a Red Cross volunteer, blood donor or financial contributor by going to redcross.org, calling 740-354-3293 or visit us at 1801 Robinson Avenue in Portsmouth.
Volunteers comprise 90 percent of the Red Cross workforce. The Red Cross is not a government agency; it relies on donations of time, money, and blood to do its work. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext.1993 or @WayneAllenPDT.