You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Local Red Cross Chapter Receives FEMA Recognition for Save a Life Denver Program

The Red Cross Mile High Chapter was among five American Red Cross chapters that have received Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) 2012 Individual and Community Preparedness Awards for their efforts to make communities safer, stronger and better prepared for any disaster or emergency event.

The Mile High Chapter and its Save A Life Denver program partners received an honorable mention from FEMA in the “Innovative Use of Technology” Category. The Save A Life Denver program has engaged the whole community of Denver in increasing the survival rate among cardiac arrest victims by increasing access to Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and training citizen responders in CPR/AED skills.

Through the program, the Red Cross has placed more than 1,100 automated external defibrillators (AED) around the state of Colorado, with more than 900 in the Denver area alone. Several thousand citizen responders have been trained in CPR/AED skills.

In addition to ensuring access to AEDs by placing them in high-use areas and training citizen responders in CPR/AED skills, Save A Life Denver aims to educate the public about AEDs, their effectiveness and ease of use. This included the Denver area’s first ever “AED Scavenger Hunt,” a fun campaign completed in partnership with the University of Colorado Department of Emergency Medicine that encouraged everyday people to locate AEDs in their communities and upload the devices’ image and address for incorporation into an AED database. The data will help populate a registry of AEDs so that emergency responders and/or dispatchers can quickly identify the location of the closest AED when sudden cardiac arrest strikes someone in the community.

Save a Life Denver was a cooperative effort between the American Red Cross Mile High Chapter, Denver Health and Philips Healthcare.

More about the FEMA awards

Red Cross awardees were the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter, San Francisco, California, for their Ready Neighborhoods program, and American Red Cross of the Poconos, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, for their Kids Home Alone Emergency Preparedness Workshops.

Receiving honorable mention were:

American Red Cross Mississippi Region, Jackson, Mississippi, Promising Partnerships category for their Pillowcase Project: Resilient and Ready Workshop;

American Red Cross Nashville Area Chapter, Tennessee, Preparing the Whole Community Category for their Empowering the Whole Community program

American Red Cross Mile High Region, Denver, Colorado, Innovative Use of Technology Category for the Save a Life Denver program

“These chapters are real leaders in building prepared and resilient communities,” said Russ Paulsen, executive director, Community Preparedness and Resilience Services for the Red Cross. “Those of us who have spent time with families whose lives were turned upside down by disaster know how critical preparedness is, and it’s great to see several of our innovative chapter preparedness programs recognized this year.”

“It has been shown time and time again that after a disaster, the very first responders are our neighbors,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “The award recipients promote preparedness across America’s communities – the bedrock of our national resiliency. I commend each and every one of the awardees for their service and innovation. They serve as a model for communities everywhere.”

The Bay Area Red Cross won in the category of Preparing the Whole Community for working in 50 vulnerable neighborhoods to help residents get ready for disasters. The chapter trained more than 14,000 individuals in lifesaving skills such as disaster preparedness, hands-only CPR and basic first aid.

The Red Cross of the Poconos won in the Awareness to Action category for the Kids Home Alone Emergency Preparedness Workshops, which teach elementary school students about different disasters and how to be safe. More than 500 fifth grade students took part in eight interactive preparedness “stations” where they learned about different disaster risks, how to prepare family plans and build emergency kits, as well as what to do when an emergency occurs.

The Pillowcase Project: Resilient and Ready Workshop in Mississippi was originally created to help children after Hurricane Katrina. Over the past 18 months, more than 4,750 children created their own evacuation pillowcase, labeled with things they should bring if they need to evacuate for a hurricane and decorated by each child. The project not only provides them with a pillowcase to serve as a personal kit, but also gives them tools to help them deal with disasters.

In the Nashville area, the Red Cross helped improve communications for members of the community who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as members of immigrant communities.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at