American Red Cross

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The American Red Cross was founded on the 21st of May 1881 with the declared purpose of offering humanitarian aid. Since then, the Red Cross has been involved in emergency assistance, disaster relief and education on the U.S. territory. The American Red Cross is affiliated to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

The founder was Clara Barton, the very first president of the organization. Fifteen persons participated in the first official meeting. Back in 1869 Clara Burton visited Europe; she noticed the total dedication and wonderful deeds of International Red Cross, who was a great help for a lot of people during the Franco-Prussian war. It was then that she came up with the idea of having a Red Cross organization in the U.S.A. as well.

Due to her vision and the events where the American Red Cross began to get involved, the U.S. has received the label of the Good Samaritan of Nations. Soon after that, the American Red Cross began to get involved in all the important national disasters.

Among the first disasters where the ARC was involved we can mention the Great Fire of 1881, when more than 5000 persons were left homeless or the Johnstown Flood from 1889 in Pennsylvania, when more than 2200 people lost their lives and thousands others were injured.

red crossNowadays, The American Red Cross is also largely involved in different community services that greatly help people in need. For example, it offers comfort and help to the members of families where one of the members serves in the military forces. It is the Red Cross that organizes huge projects of food and clothing gathering for the benefit of the less fortunate people. Then, the gathered items are packed and sent to the regions where people need them.

The organization is managed by volunteers and it is financially supported by the donations they receive from people.

The American Red Cross National Headquarters is located in Washington and it represents a national landmark; it supplies more than 40 percent of the donated blood in the U.S. This blood is then sent to hospitals and regional suppliers. Is is also the Red Cross that provided allograft tissue, which was used for transplants; Red Cross did that through its sales in Tissue Services Program. Back in 2005, the Tissue Service stopped, as the organization declared its desire to be involved even more in disaster relief.

The Red Cross played an important part in the industry of plasma. Due to it, a lot of the American citizens benefited from reliable and affordable plasma products. Still, beginning with 2011 the Red Cross has limited its involvement in the Plasma Services industry.

With funds close to 300 million USD, the processing, testing and distribution systems used by the Red Cross Blood Services were replaced and optimized. Nowadays the Red Cross is implementing the Nucleic Acid Testing study, looking for genetic material that can help cure HIV and hepatitis C, rather than looking at the body’s reaction to the disease.

The Red Cross specialists offer also cellular therapies to different patients. This means collecting several blood cells from a patient and treating them. When these cells are functioning well once again, they are reinserted in the body, so that the old cells benefit and function well as well. Cellular therapies prove to be helpful especially with the cancer diagnosed patients: the treated and strong cells are used to fight in the battle with the cancerous cells.

When it comes to health and safety services, the American Red Cross is known to provide first aid, just like it did from its very beginnings, as well as CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), lifeguarding, water safety checks, babysitting, home safety courses and disaster preparedness. The courses that ARC organizes are held all over the U.S.A. and numerous people enroll and attend them. These courses are especially created for laypeople, as well as for workplaces and aquatic facilities. In the U.S. about 12 million American learn different techniques every year. You can buy first aid kits, disaster kits and similar equipments from the ARC. When it is required, ARC organizes even pet first aid classes for all the pet owners that are interested in helping their house pets.

Statistics demonstrate clearly that ARC is involved in more than 70,000 disasters every year. American Red Cross offers valuable help when houses or apartments are on fire, during and after hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, traffic accidents, explosions and all sorts of other accidents or hazardous situations.

When a disaster happens, it is the ARC that provides people with shelter, food to eat and medicines, in order to take proper care of all the persons affected by the terrible situation. As the ARC is also involved in other parts of the globe other than the U.S., it provides translation services and a database of multilingual volunteers.

The ARC does not wait for a disaster to happen in order to get involved; in peaceful and normal times it produces all sorts of literature that can help people learn how to react, the do’s and don’ts in case that an earthquake, a flood or any other natural disaster occurs.

Many people believe that the Red Cross provides ambulances or other medical facilities. This is a wrong belief, because these first responder roles are left to the local and state authorities. In other countries where the Red Cross is present, it might be involved in such first aid procedures as well. But this is not the case in the US.

The ARC proved to be of tremendous help during and after hurricanes Katrina, Wilma and Rita hit the US territories. More than 1400 shelters were created and opened in the region, and close to 4 million people stayed there over night. Right before the hurricane, a number of 2000 volunteers were on standby, being prepared and ready to intervene. In fact, no less than 300,000 Red Cross volunteers were involved in the operations during and right after those three hurricanes; more than 80 percent of them were non paid volunteers. Close to 350,000 comfort kits and more than 200,000 clean up kits were freely distributed to the people affected by the hurricanes.

The ARC is an important part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The almost 100 million volunteers are involved in a continuous effort of educating and mobilizing communities to know how to react best in case of life threatening situations. Red Crescent is involved in many international projects: the measles initiative and the malaria African program are just two of them.

It is interesting to know that the ARC has placed huge quantities of emergency supplies in three warehouses from Panama, Malaysia and Dubai. Those supplies will be used in case of crisis situations, like the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, crisis in Africa, hurricanes in the Caribbean region etc.

After the massive earthquake that hit Haiti in January 2010, the ARC has announced that more than 300 million USD will be spent in an effort to help recover the affected region: transitional houses will be built, many people will benefit from free health services, they will be taught about disaster preparedness and their lifestyle in general will be positively influenced.

The ARC also fights against HIV, measles and other diseases that have not been eradicated yet in many regions of the globe. In 2001 the ARC became part of a large project, which is intended to reduce the number of deaths associated to measles worldwide. Through this program governments and authorities in many areas of the globe are provided financial and technical support, and the vaccination campaigns have the goal of preventing the spread of the disease.

The owners of this site support all the initiatives that are supposed to fight diseases, no matter if they are local like Louis Kraml’s initiative, or global, the way the American Red Cross does it. You can find Mr. Louis Kraml on Twitter or connect with Louis Kraml on LinkedIn.

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