Celebrate Disaster Preparedness

March is National American Red Cross Month. It is fitting that we celebrate its achievements and perhaps think about our own responsibilities when it comes to disaster preparedness.

Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross,was acclaimed as the Angel of the Battlefield. A government office worker in Washington, DC, during the Civil War, Miss Barton saw soldiers and civilians affected by the nearby battles. Soon she had left her post and was working hard to save soldiers on the battlefield. After the war, she became a leading proponent of the Geneva Convention, which established the rights of war prisoners for the first time in history.

In 1881, when Clara Barton began the American Red Cross, she and a group of volunteers made it their mission to be prepared to help in times of disaster. Their first national action was to respond to the needs of those affected by a vast forest fire. Soon Red Cross members began to travel the country, opening new chapters and teaching basic first aid to students and adults. Over the last 130 years, the American Red Cross has responded to disasters by providing medical aid, shelter, food and other critical assistance. Whether its earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, or other natural disasters, the Red Cross has often been the first agency on the scene.

Across the country, the American Red Cross has thousands of chapters that are aided by an army of volunteers. With just as many simple tasks as difficult ones, there are ways that anyone can help. The Red Cross offers classes on CPR, first aid, and disaster preparedness. It trains people to work in their community and, when necessary, to travel to a disaster zone.

We celebrate the triumph of the human spirit, the life of Clara Barton, and the work of the American Red Cross. Volunteers are always needed to donate time, talent and energy to this noble cause.


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