Kentucky Appoints Red Cross State Disaster Health Service Advisor

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Even though it’s only been a year, I’ve had enough experiences that were so rewarding.

The American Red Cross recently appointed volunteer Ginger Lang to the position of Disaster Health Service Advisor for the Kentuckiana and Bluegrass Regions. In this role, Lang will provide leadership and guidance regarding health services across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. She will advise and support leadership, partners and clients on disaster-related health matters, preparing for health implications of disaster and improving readiness to respond to the health needs of disaster clients.

Lang, a Registered Nurse and Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, joined the Red Cross in May of 2013 becoming an active volunteer in several areas. She is currently a Disaster Action Team Captain, Service to Armed Forces (SAF) Medical Liaison and SAF Community Education Liaison for the American Red Cross South Central Kentucky Chapter headquartered in Bowling Green, Ky.

In her first year with the organization, Lang responded to two national level disasters—first during the 2013 Colorado floods and most recently to Oso, Wash. following a mudslide. On both operations she employed her skills and expertise in the Disaster Health Services area ensuring that both clients and Red Cross workers were physically taken care of.

“Even though it’s only been a year, I’ve had enough experiences that were so rewarding,” Lang said recalling this past winter when she responded to three separate residential fires in which families suffered fatalities. “Those are the situations when I know I have something to offer, and I feel appreciated.”

Earlier this year, Lang received the American Red Cross Jane Delano Student Nurse Scholarship established to promote nursing as a career and the involvement of new nurses in the Red Cross. The scholarship is available to nursing students who have contributed volunteer service to or are employees of a Red Cross Unit. A maximum of three scholarships are awarded to applicants across the country each year.

Lang said she was thrilled to receive the award and that it will be helpful as she completes her Master of Science degree in Nursing at American Sentinel University, Aurora, Colo. Eventually Lang would like to explore overseas deployment with the International Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies—specifically the measles and mumps initiatives, but for now she looks forward to serving locally.

A pet project she hopes to spend more time on in the future is preparing children and families for disasters. While living in Seattle, Lang experienced firsthand the benefit of having a plan and kit in place before disaster hit. Each student was required to keep a comfort kit at school in case of a major disaster and separation from their parents. The kit contained a letter written by the child’s parents intended to comfort and calm. The kits brought comfort to Lang’s children on three separate occasions.

While developing a preparedness program as part of her master’s degree curriculum, Lang learned of the American Red Cross Pillowcase Project, an interactive preparedness course created for grade school children to help them build a preparedness kit and create an emergency plan with their families. She has since attended training to become a Pillowcase Project presenter.

When asked how she finds time to serve the Red Cross in so many areas, Lang responded, “I do what I can when I can. If an opportunity arises, I try to participate.”

To learn more about volunteer opportunities at the American Red Cross Louisville Area Chapter, visit redcross.org/Louisville or call (502) 561-3601.