PHOENIX, Sept. 8, 2004 ? Only two of every 10 Americans feel ?very prepared? to deal with a disaster, according to a new Red Cross/Wirthlin Worldwide preparedness survey. The Grand Canyon Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Qwest Foundation want to change that through both disaster preparedness education and disaster response volunteer training. The ?Honor in Action? disaster volunteer drive, which encourages Phoenix-area residents to sign up for disaster response training, will begin this Saturday, Sept. 11, 2004 at the Qwest Solutions Centers in the Superstition Springs Mall and MetroCenter.
?Honor in Action? calls for local residents to sign up for and/or complete Red Cross disaster response volunteer training before the end of 2004 as a tribute to all U.S. victims of natural and man-made disasters, including Hurricane Frances and the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The disaster response volunteer kickoff also coincides with September?s National Preparedness Month and the Grand Canyon Chapter?s ?Together We Prepare? disaster preparedness campaign.
?At times of tragic events, Americans search for ways to honor the everyday heroes who act quickly and decisively during catastrophic events and ultimately help save lives. The ?Honor in Action? program is a way for people to volunteer as one of those heroes,? said Cathy Tisdale, chief executive officer, Grand Canyon Chapter.
Grand Canyon Chapter volunteers respond to a local disaster an average of once every 16 hours, and 98 percent of the local disaster responders are volunteers. Based on Phoenix?s need, the Grand Canyon Chapter of the American Red Cross has set a goal of training 50 volunteers before the end of the year.
The Grand Canyon Chapter?s goal is to respond to a local disaster within one hour of being called about the crisis. Local volunteers trained in disaster response and relief work with allied agencies to mitigate the situation.
?Trained volunteers are a crucial part of community preparedness,? said Ric Padilla, Qwest vice president of corporate responsibility. ?The ?Honor in Action? program provides the opportunity for Phoenix residents to learn how to serve their friends, family and community in a time of crisis.?
When a disaster occurs, the first Red Cross response team on the scene is trained to identify the needs of victims and determine whether shelters or temporary housing are necessary. Shelter managers are then deployed to coordinate shelter, food and clothing for victims, as well as provide mental health and medical support.
The Red Cross also notifies allied agencies that can assist with the shelter and care for large and small animals. Other volunteer roles include public affairs and information, client services, government liaison, record keeping, and damage assessment.
Supported in part by a grant from the Qwest Foundation, the disaster response training courses are offered at no charge. Trained volunteers work out an on-call schedule with their local chapter, and on-call commitments are flexible and depend on the volunteer?s availability and specialty area. Grand Canyon Red Cross volunteers complete the new volunteer orientation course and then the Introduction to Disaster Services class. After completing this course, volunteers can continue lessons in specialty areas best suited to their skills and interests.
For more information about the ?Honor in Action? or ?Together We Prepare? programs in Phoenix or to schedule disaster preparedness training, contact the Grand Canyon Chapter of the American Red Cross at 602-336-6660 or www.arizonaredcross.org.
For more information about the Qwest Foundation, please visit www.qwest.com/foundation.
About the American Red Cross
Governed by volunteers and supported by community donations, the American Red Cross is a nationwide network of nearly 1,000 chapters and Blood Services regions dedicated to saving lives and helping people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Led by 1.2 million volunteers and 30,000 employees, the Red Cross annually mobilizes relief to families affected by more than 67,000 disasters, trains almost 12 million people in lifesaving skills and exchanges more than a million emergency messages for U.S. military service personnel and their families. The Red Cross is the largest supplier of blood and blood products to more than 3,000 hospitals across the nation and provides relief and assistance to those suffering from conflict, disasters and other international crises worldwide.
About the Qwest Foundation
The Qwest Foundation's core principle is that investing in people and communities provides lasting value for the future. The Qwest Foundation awards grants to community-based programs that generate high impact and measurable results, focusing on K-12 education and economic development. The Qwest Foundation's philosophy is to help build strong communities through investing in people and the places where they live and work. For more information, contact www.qwest.com/foundation.
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