Boise, ID -- March is American Red Cross Month, an opportunity for individuals, families, businesses and even government agencies to review their own level of disaster preparedness, and reflect on the critical role played by the Red Cross in alleviating human suffering across the country, and across the world. The American Red Cross has played a crucial role in virtually every major disaster of this century - and is the only non-federal signatory of the Federal Emergency Management Agency-implemented Federal Response Plan.
According to FEMA Acting Regional Director Tammy Doherty, while the American Red Cross is not a government agency and receives no government funding for disaster services, it does coordinate the activities of virtually all National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD - and there are 19) in addition to its daily 24-hour response missions, and is the lead agency coordinating Mass Care (shelter, food, and emergency first aid) in the event of catastrophic disaster.
"The American Red Cross is often 'first-on-scene' when disaster strikes," said Doherty. "And with over 95 percent of all natural disasters handled at the local and state government level, its special 'grass-roots' approach to disaster preparedness and response partnerships really pays off."
Idaho Bureau of Disaster Services Director and American Red Cross of Idaho Executive Board member John Cline certainly agrees. "The American Red Cross in Idaho is an invaluable link in hierarchy of emergency response and recovery activities," said Cline. "It could be in response to nighttime fires with people fleeing into the street without their clothes, purses, medicines, glasses, food ? necessities that the Red Cross provides at no charge. In addition to high-profile large disasters, the American Red Cross of Greater Idaho assisted more than 160 Idaho families that lost their homes to fire or other disasters last year. Cline also reports that each year his Chapter provides emergency communications and assistance to more than 1,100 members of the U.S. Armed Forces away from home.
"The Red Cross helps families reconnect during their worst times of stress and vulnerability," continued Cline. "The Red Cross is able to do this because of the generous support of the local communities it serves."
Last year the American Red Cross of Greater Idaho trained over 76,000 people in the life-saving skills of CPR and First Aid, swimming and water safety. The Red Cross strives to respond to the health and safety concerns of Americans at home, in school, and in the workplace. For more information call 1-800-853-2570.