DISASTER SERVICES

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Disaster can strike quickly without warning. It can force you or your family to evacuate your neighborhood or confine you to your home. This is why the Firelands Chapter of the American Red Cross trains relief workers to help the community in a time of need. We provide services for many uncontrollable disasters such as: single family fires, natural disasters (tornadoes, floods, etc.), and toxic chemical spills.

When a disaster strikes, the Red Cross responds immediately. It does not need a government request to move into action. It works in cooperation with the government and other organizations to provide assistance.

The Firelands Chapter of the American Red Cross provided financial assistance to families affected by disasters such as single family fires, floods or tornadoes. Typical expenditures equal $30,000 per year for the 30-35 families affected in the two county area.

How can you prepare yourself and your family before a disaster occurs?

First, you should know that disasters can and do strike every day and that no community or family is immune to disaster. You should learn as much as you can about potential disasters in your community, so you can avoid them or reduce their effects. The more you know, the better you'll be able to prepare for a disaster and, if disaster strikes, the better you'll be able to cope.

The Firelands Chapter of the American Red Cross can provide you with more information on how to prepare for and stay safe during a disaster. The Chapter can train you in first aid and CPR and let you know more about the range of services offered in your community.  

What does the American Red Cross actually do in disasters?

The most well-known disaster relief activities are sheltering, feeding, and giving first aid to those seeking refuge from a hurricane or flood or in the wake of a tornado, earthquake, or hazardous materials incident.

In addition to these services, the core of Red Cross disaster relief activities is the assistance given to individuals and families affected by disaster. All assistance is given on a standardized basis, depending on the verified disaster-caused needs of the individual or family. This assistance is geared toward meeting immediate emergency needs. It is also where the majority of your financial contributions go.

The Red Cross enables victims of disaster to resume living independently by providing direct financial assistance for them to replace basic human needs--from groceries, new clothing, and rent to emergency home repairs, transportation, household items, medicines, and tools. The Red Cross also helps those needing long-term recovery assistance when other resources are not available or are inadequate.

Red Cross disaster relief work also includes: feeding emergency workers, referring those affected by disaster to other available resources, handling inquiries from concerned family members outside the disaster area, and providing blood and blood products to disaster victims.  

Who provides the disaster services of the American Red Cross?

A cadre of trained Red cross paid and volunteer staff continually work to be ready to respond when a disaster threatens or strikes. Red Cross workers come from all walks of life and all segments of the community. The only thing they have in common is the willingness to serve and the desire to help those in need. Trained Red Cross disaster workers might:

  • Be part of a team that determines the level of damage to homes in a disaster area.

  • Work in a shelter or on a mobile feeding van providing hot meals to a disaster-stricken community.

  • Move urgently needed vehicles and supplies across the country.

  • Interview individuals and families to determine how they were affected by the disaster and how the Red Cross can best meet their needs.

  • Work with Disaster Health Services to give first aid and other health assistance to disaster victims.

  • Help provide the media with the most current information on the disaster and how the Red Cross is responding.

  • Provide computer, communications, or accounting support.

  • Do community presentations to help people prepare for disaster.

  • Train others how to provide disaster services.

How can you help after a disaster?

When a disaster strikes a family, a community, or a country, people want to help. Obviously, everyone does not have the time or ability to respond directly to the scene and give assistance. But almost everyone wants to do something to help those in need.

One way to help is to volunteer today with the Firelands Chapter. As a trained disaster volunteer, you may be called on to help others when they need you most.

Another very important way to help is to send a financial contribution to the Firelands Chapter earmarking it for the "Disaster Relief Fund." Your financial contribution, rather than donations of often-unneeded items, ensures that what is actually needed can be purchased in disaster-affected communities. It also enables disaster victims to pay for what they need to meet their emergency needs.

The Disaster Relief Fund assures that the Red Cross can provide assistance to individuals and families regardless of the type of disaster or where it occurs.  

For additional information on disasters, check out the following sites:

Red Cross Community Disaster Education

Preparing for a disaster (FEMA)

Preparing for Disasters

Preparing for Winter Storms

Disaster Services Community Disaster Education

Resources for Educators on Preparedness & Recovery

Earthquake Preparedness Checklist

Quake Survival Tips

Emergency Preparedness Information Center

Severe Weather Safety Guide

Winter Driving

Disaster Information Network

Natural Disaster Program for Families

Recent Red Cross Disaster Relief News

Current Disasters

North American Center for Emergency Communication

FEMA's Home Page