BY BARRY WARNER
Founded by Clara Barton in 1881, The Red Cross responds to natural and man-made disasters in the United States ranging from fires, hurricanes, floods, transportation accidents and explosions. At the East Harlem gas explosion, the Red Cross volunteers provided shelter, food and health services to address basic human needs of the adults and children affected.
The Red Cross feeds emergency service workers like firefighters, police and handles inquiries from concerned family members outside the disaster area. It is the nations’ largest blood collecting organization and supplies forty percent of blood and blood products used in the country.
Abigail Adams, Communications Director of the Metro North Chapter said, “More than ninety percent of the workforces are volunteers, who carry on the humanitarian functions of the organization. They receive extensive training and are empowered to meet the needs of the community.”
Services to the Armed Forces Personnel include scheduling visits of volunteers, providing physical therapy adaptive equipment and job assistance upon the return of soldiers to civilian life. Certification courses for local communities include swimming and water safety for lifeguards plus CPR and the use of the AED (automated external defibrillator) for first responders.