(WFXR) — The American Red Cross is an incredible philanthropic organization that has been around for 140 years. The organization is more famously known for blood drives and major disaster relief efforts throughout the world.
When there is a crisis on the horizon, like a hurricane barreling down on the coast, they mobilize before the storm’s impact begins and are ready soon after to provide comfort and relief to victims quickly after the storm exits.
Shelters are set up, survival kits are distributed with food, water, and blankets for those in need. The American Red Cross says, 90-percent of their workforce includes volunteers who are ready at a moment’s notice to help those in need.
The Red Cross also provides other services:
- Free smoke detectors;
- Distribute packages and aid to military;
- Shelter for victims of house fires and wildfires;
- Providing emergency financial assistance in the immediate aftermath of a disaster;
- Distributing financial assistance for households that need extra help in the long-term; and
- Providing grants for community-based recovery services
For more information on how to contact the Red Cross click here.
Also in the area, Emergency Managers say they have been preparing all year-round.
Piper VanDePerre and Trevor Shannon both work in Emergency Management for the City of Lynchburg and the City of Roanoke, respectively.
If a storm is threatening our region, the first step is getting the message out to the public.
“So, we start early messaging – whether that’s through our Community Engagement Office or within our office, with our fire and EMS, information is being sent out,” says Roanoke Battalion Chief of Emergency Management.
VanDePerre says, “We’ll have some pre-planning meetings. We’ll talk about everybody’s roles and responsibilities for if we do have a really hard impact from the storm. We’ll talk about sheltering. We’ll talk about ‘do we need any extra resources that we need to precure or acquire before the storm gets here.”
They agree that flooding is one of the biggest concerns for our region when it comes to tropical systems that pass through our region.
It’s strong partnerships between first responders, utility companies, volunteer organizations and other agencies that work together to keep everyone safe during and after the storm.
Another organization that’s diligent in responding to natural disasters, not only here locally, but across the country, is God’s Pit Crew.
Based out of Danville, God’s Pit Crew has Blessing Buckets that are filled with essential items that can help people in times of need.
These Blessing Buckets include first aid supplies like bandages; personal items like toilet paper and paper towels; and miscellaneous items such as trash bags and cups.
The organization says it has distributed more than 200 million pounds of relief supplies across Virginia.