Red Cross preparing for disasters


DAYTON — During National Preparedness Month in September, the Central and Southern Ohio Region of the American Red Cross urges everyone to prepare for worsening extreme weather affecting our communities.

Severe weather is part of a worsening national trend in which the American Red Cross has responded to nearly twice as many large disasters across the country as it did a decade ago.

As rapidly intensifying, weather-related events pose serious challenges to its humanitarian work and the people it serves, the Red Cross has announced an ambitious national plan to take urgent action. With more climate-driven disasters upending lives and devastating communities, the organization is racing to adapt its services and grow its disaster response capacity across the country, while also funding new international programs on climate response and preparedness, as well as minimizing its own environmental footprint.

Here in Central and Southern Ohio, the Resilient Community Initiative aims to amplify our efforts to prevent and prepare for disasters by working with like-minded organizations whose missions are connected to our work. Focus is placed on recruiting, training and engaging preparedness and disaster volunteers to respond to disasters locally and across the country.

“As the frequency and intensity of extreme weather grow, more people need help more often,” said Stephanie Byrd, Regional Chief Executive Officer of the Central and Southern Ohio Region of the American Red Cross.

“Yet as fast as our volunteers are working to help, the needs are escalating faster. That’s why it’s critical to not only prepare yourself for risks like tornadoes and other extreme weather in our community, but to also help families in need — both locally and in other parts of the country. Join us by becoming a volunteer or making a financial donation to support our disaster relief efforts.”

For National Preparedness Month, the American Red Cross encourages families to take three lifesaving actions — get a kit, make a plan and be informed — to help protect against local emergencies. Follow safety tips now at You can also deliver relief and care to families facing the impact of climate disasters by becoming a Red Cross volunteer.

MOUNTING U.S. DISASTER RESPONSES The number of billion dollar disasters has increased by 70 percent over the past decade. As a result, of the unrelenting and overlapping disasters, the Red Cross is launching twice as many relief operations as a decade ago. July was the country’s hottest single month on record. What’s more, the U.S. is just now entering its typical peak time for hurricanes and wildfires.

ADAPTING TO THE CLIMATE CRISIS As extreme weather disasters increase, more people need help from the Red Cross in the U.S. Nationwide, the organization is taking bold and thoughtful actions to adapt its services and grow its capacity by:

• Enhancing large-scale disaster response services by bolstering the aid provided in emergency shelters and extending casework support to help people with the most recovery needs.

• Expanding financial assistance to help more families with unmet needs and bridge the gap between immediate disaster relief and long-term recovery assistance.

• Strengthening local partner networks in targeted areas that face a high risk of extreme weather and existing societal inequities with a focus on increased access to health and mental health services, nutritious food and safe housing for local families.

• Growing its disaster workforce — comprised of 90 percent trained volunteers — to deepen its disaster readiness. This includes fortifying the critical infrastructure and technology that enables 24/7 response to disasters across the country.

SUPPORT DISASTER RELIEF WORK Help people affected by disasters big and small, including climatedriven crises, by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters in the U.S. Visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

CLIMATE AND WEATHER IMPACTS TO THE NATIONAL BLOOD SUPPLY The Red Cross has seen a significant shortfall in blood and platelet donations over the last month, making it hard to keep pace with the need for blood products. Blood and platelet donations that go uncollected due to climate-related events, such as hurricanes, wildfires and extreme heat, can put further strain on the national blood supply. As extreme weather events are worsening, the Red Cross is seeing that translate into more blood drive cancellations. In 2022, over 1,300 blood drives were canceled due to weather — about 23 percent higher than the average of the prior nine years.

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