2014-05-09 / In the Know

In the Know

Red Cross provides support worldwide
By B. Michael Thurlow, Special to the Leader

Did you know that each year March is designated as American Red Cross month? It is one month of the year to take the time to recognize our country’s everyday heroes who give their time to help people in need.

The American Red Cross, in addition to supplying about 40 percent of our nation’s blood, also provides shelter, food and emotional support during emergencies and disasters.

The Red Cross relies on the heroic efforts of its workers and volunteers to get the job done.

In Scarborough, we work with the Red Cross in a variety of different ways. Currently we are meeting with their disaster response team to plan a regional shelter exercise that will be held at the Scarborough High School on May 17.

Whenever we have a serious house fire, we call on the Red Cross to respond to the scene and assist with unmet needs for the victims including funds to replace clothing and to pay for shelter in a local hotel.

There are a number of ways that you can become a hero for the Red Cross.

Consider becoming a volunteer through the local chapter in Portland. Every single day, the American Red Cross helps people in emergencies.

Whether it’s one displaced family, thousands of disaster victims, or providing care and comfort to an ill or injured service member or veteran, their vital work is made possible by local volunteers. The Red Cross is always looking for people with various backgrounds, talents and skill levels.

Give blood to help someone in need. The Red Cross is the nation’s largest distributor of blood and blood products to emergency rooms and hospitals across the country. Blood has a limited shelf life so there is always a need, and giving is not only quick and easy, but you have the real chance to actually save a life since one pint of blood can literally save three lives.

Take one of the many classes the Red Cross offers from CPR to shelter management, and a variety of others to gain information and skills so you can help out during an emergency.

Make a plan by getting your family involved in developing a family preparedness plan for emergencies. The Red Cross has a variety of materials and information available to help guide you in this important process.

Finally, consider a financial donation. The American Red Cross provides disaster assistance across the U.S. and around the world. If you aren’t able to volunteer or give blood, making a financial donation to help the Red Cross continue their important work is always very much needed and appreciated.

As spring marches toward summer, it is a great time to consider supporting the American Red Cross. More information on how you can help is available on the Red Cross website at www.redcrossblood.org/.

If you have any questions about this article or any fire department issue you may contact me at mthurl@ci.scarborough. me.us or at 730-4201.

B. Michael Thurlow is fire chief for Scarborough.

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