About Our Organization
Since our founding in 1881, the American Red Cross has been dedicated to serving people in need. We received our first congressional charter in 1900 and to this day we are tasked by the federal government with providing services to members of the American armed forces and their families as well as providing disaster relief in the United States and around the world. The local chapter of the American Red Cross was established in 1917, and today we remain true to our mission. The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.
Each year, the American Red Cross responds to an average of more than 62,000 disasters in the US, the vast majority of which are home fires. So we set a goal to reduce fire-related deaths and injuries in the US by 25%.
Every Spring, Red Cross volunteers go around in at-risk neighborhoods to install free smoke alarms and educate residents in home fire safety. So far, the national campaign has nearly two million smoke alarms making more than 783,000 homes safer. Through the national campaign, 627 lives have been saved by working smoke alarms that alerted residents that were installed by Red Cross volunteers. 15 of those saves happened right here in Iowa!
2017 was a year marked by historic hurricanes, wildfires and other crises, the American Red Cross was there for a record number of people whose lives were upended by major events. Most recently flooding in North West and Central Iowa followed by catastrophic tornadoes has been life changing for hundreds of Iowans. Even though more people hear about large disasters like wildfires and floods, the biggest disaster threat in the United States is home fires. The enormity of this loss of life and the commonplace nature of home fires rarely garners significant media attention, even when it strikes a local community. That’s why the American Red Cross launched the Home Fire Campaign in 2014. Join the Red Cross as part of the Home Fire Campaign to reduce the injuries and fatalities of America’s everyday disaster by preventing home fires and being part of the response and recovery of these families in their greatest time of need. Already 8 lives in the North and Western Iowa Chapter have been documented as saved through prevention efforts, including smoke alarm installations. In addition, last year more than 800 elementary students participated in the Pillowcase Project, a program to prepare them, their families, and their school for what to do in an emergency. Every eight minutes, the Red Cross responds to a disaster— a majority of them home fires. We provide comfort, relief and recovery assistance when it is needed most.
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