10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Red Cross
2. We are not a government agency. We are chartered by Congress to respond 24/7, 365 days/year to disasters and provide emergency communications between deployed soldiers and their loved ones. We work side by side with firefighters, police, civil defense, and military to fulfill this humanitarian mission, yet we are not a government agency and rely on the generosity of Hawaii’s people to provide critical services to our community.
3. We respond to disasters in Hawaii every 4 days. Most people think of the Red Cross only during a hurricane, but we respond to disasters statewide every 4 days. Just because something terrible doesn’t happen to a lot of people at the same time (e.g. tsunami), doesn’t mean it’s not a disaster. When someone loses everything they own in a fire or a loved one or pet in a tragedy, it’s a disaster to that person, and the Red Cross is there to help them back on their feet no matter what.
4. We are ready to respond to disasters 24/7. When you go to sleep at night, one of your neighbors is a Red Cross volunteer who sleeps with a phone under their pillow, ready to get up in the middle of the night to help you if your house catches on fire. This is what the Red Cross is all about – neighbor helping neighbor – down the street, across the nation, and around the world. All Red Cross disaster training and services are free.
5. We are experts in disaster mental health counseling. When tragedy strikes, Red Cross provides not only food, clothing, and shelter, but crisis counseling to help people get back on their feet and on with their lives. In American Samoa, Red Cross volunteers went from village to village helping parents and children cope with the loss of their loved ones and overcome the fear of another tsunami. In Hawaii, we helped the victims of Pearl Harbor, Hilo tsunami, New Year’s and Manoa Floods, Sacred Falls landslide, Ehime Maru, Big Isle earthquake, Kaloko dam burst, and every disaster since 1917 when Red Cross was established in Hawaii.
6. We provide emergency communication between deployed military service members and their loved ones, and international tracing services for families torn apart by war or disaster. These services are rendered 24/7, 365 days/year, free of charge as part of our mission of saving lives and giving hope to those in need.
7. We run the entire volunteer program at Tripler Army Medical Center with over 200 Red Cross volunteers in 46 departments and wards, including volunteer nurses, doctors, pharmacists, office workers, and dozens of therapy dogs who bring smiles and comfort to patients and their families. Together with volunteers at Schofield, Pearl Harbor, and Kaneohe, Red Cross volunteers donate 35,000 hours per year (equivalent to almost $1 million/18 full-time employees).
8. We teach 20,000 people every year how to save lives through CPR, first aid, nurse aide, family caregiving, lifeguard, water safety, babysitting, and pet first aid training.
9. We teach free swimming every summer and staff volunteer First Aid Stations. Fifty Hawaii residents drown every year and another 150 nearly drown. As part of our mission of saving lives, we have offered a free Summer Swim program at Ala Moana Beach for almost 50 years. And almost every weekend, trained Red Cross volunteers staff first aid stations, free of charge, at community events like the 50th State Fair, AYSO soccer tournaments, and Honolulu Marathon.
10. We need your help. The Red Cross turns your compassion into action. Our services are a gift from the people of Hawaii – neighbors helping in a time of need. With the threat of flu pandemic, terrorist attack, and inevitable major disaster in Hawaii, the Red Cross is more relevant and needed than ever before. Get involved today. Log onto www.hawaiiredcross.org to donate or volunteer.
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