The Red Cross responds to a natural disaster every eight minutes, those disasters include everything from house fires to multi-state natural disasters. The Red Cross is currently responding to a natural disaster in Texas, where some of its residents are experiencing flooding. As apart of the response a local Red Cross official, who asked not to be identified, will be deploying to Texas on Wednesday, to serve as a case manager.
According to information provided by the Red Cross about the situation in Texas, “A wave of thunderstorms has spawned more flooding in an already saturated Texas, and several communities in Central and Southeast Texas saw more than nine inches of rain yesterday (May 27). The storms are causing river and creek flooding in a number of areas.”
Debbie Smith, Community Executive with the Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross said sending local volunteers and staff is what the Red Cross is all about.
When asked about the importance of local people responding to national disasters, Smith said it is very important.
“If it was not for the amount of volunteers we have to deploy, the Red Cross would not be able to do all that we do,” Smith said.
As of Friday, May 27 the American Red Cross supported eight shelters with nearly 60 residents staying overnight. More shelters are expected to open as additional evacuations occur.
Nationally the American Red Cross responds to more than 65.000 disasters annually with 95 percent of it’s disaster relief workers are volunteers. It’s estimated that 90 percent of the disasters the Red Cross responds to are house fires.
In fiscal year 2015, 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.
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.
Every year the Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross holds a heroes breakfast to honor those that go above and beyond the call of duty for their community. Hero nominations are currently be sought.
Hero categories include: Blood/Tissue/Organ Hero; CPR/AED/First Aid Hero; Community Hero; Military/Veteran Hero; Fire/Preparedness Hero; Adult Good Samaritan; Workplace Hero; Wellness Hero; Youth Good Samaritan; Volunteer Hero and the Marcia Sanderlin Hero Award, which is presented to a Red Cross volunteer or supporter who has gone above and beyond expectations either as a volunteer or financial supporter.
Nominations are due no later than Friday, July 1. When nominating a group, at least one person from the group must live in Jackson, Pike, Lawrence, Adams, Brown or Scioto counties. The act of heroism must have occurred after July 1, 2015, or be ongoing. Nomination forms may be picked up at the Red Cross office, 1801 Robinson Ave., or downloaded from the Red Cross ORV Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ORVredcross.
All proceeds help support local disaster prevention, preparation and relief, the lifesaving training of first aid, CPR/AED classes, collection and testing of blood and blood products, support to military members serving around the globe, the transportation program, and international programs provided by the American Red Cross.
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.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 1933 or @WayneallenPDT on Twitter