By Jakie Rodriguez, Public Affairs Volunteer
When natural disasters strike, the American Red Cross is there. From providing temporary housing with shelters to serving meals and organizing blood donation drives, we are best known for showing up in times of need. But, did you know that the Red Cross does much more than support those affected during a disaster? Below are some fun facts about the organization!
Sound the Alarm
The number one disaster response the Red Cross responds to is home fires. On average, we respond to one to two home fires on a daily basis across the Central California Region. To help prevent the frequency and severity of the fires, the organization launched the Home Fire campaign. Starting in 2014, the purpose of the campaign is to save countless lives by installing smoke alarms in primary residences. Since the campaign first started, we have made over 800,000 homes safer and has installed over two million alarms!
We believe that it is best to be prepared for all types of emergencies which is why we offer numerous training and certifications. Ranging from first aid and CPR to lifeguarding and babysitting, we provide students of all ages with the skills and knowledge they need to prepare them in the event of an emergency. Classes are offered both online and in-person. If you’re interested in exploring one of the numerous preparedness trainings offered in your community, be sure to visit the Red Cross website. You can also learn how to prepare for emergencies including what you should have in your emergency go-bag.
For decades, celebrities have lent a hand to help the organization. Last year, New Kids on the Block encouraged their fans to donate blood by choosing a lucky donor to meet the band and attend their final performance of their summer tour. Similarly, Game of Thrones launched a #FortheThrone campaign that encouraged fans to make an appointment to donate blood. All participating contestants were entered to win season 8 premiere tickets. The campaign resulted in over 60,000 new donors to the Red Cross and nearly 350,000 blood donations in total.
Often times, when disaster strikes the nation, communities rally together to donate blood and support those affected. However, because it takes about three to five days for blood product processing, blood donations that happen after a disaster most likely do not go to the victims. Responsible for nearly 40% of the nation’s blood supply, the year-round need for blood donors is constant with someone in the U.S. needing donated blood every two seconds. This is the one item we want to make sure is on the shelves at all times.
Volunteer Support Where It’s Needed Most
Known for our support in times of crisis, did you know the Red Cross responds to an emergency every eight minutes? From July 2019 to March 2020, the Central California Region has responded to more than 450 home fires. No other organization, not even the government or other charities respond at that rate. We rely heavily on the support of our volunteers with 90% of disaster responders being volunteers. Have you thought about joining the Red Cross? If you are interested in being part of our family, visit our website.