The Nashville Area Chapter of the American Red Cross will be hosting one of 12 Emergency Communications Response Vehicles (ECRV) in the entire country, until the end of November. By establishing a direct line between on-the-ground operations and the National Red Cross through the ECRV, resources can be used more efficiently and effectively during a major disaster.
“While many ECRV drivers rarely interact directly with disaster victims, they serve as a vital link during a relief operation,” said Joel Sullivan, Regional CEO for the Tennessee Volunteer Region. “These vehicles make it possible for the volunteers on the scene to conduct communications with other parts of the country, so that services can be provided quickly to meet the emergency needs of those whose lives have been affected by disaster.”
The primary purpose of the ECRV is to be among the first to arrive to an area after a disaster strikes. The ECRV can deploy twelve laptops and ten Internet Protocol (IP) phones that are all connected to the American Red Cross network by satellite, without benefit of ANY local infrastructure, e.g. power, landline phones, cell phones, radio towers, etc. This provides critical email, disaster applications access and voice communication capabilities to Red Cross volunteers and staff that are providing the initial disaster response. This “Disaster Headquarters on Wheels” is able to supply critical information to the disaster workers on scene through internet access and DirecTV news channels.
The American Red Cross has very specific requirements to become an ECRV Operator, which include forty hours of training and an availability commitment to be on-call at least one month each year. Two primary ECRV Operators and one backup ECRV Operator are on call for deployment each month. Once notified of a deployment, two ECRV Operators are expected to have the ECRV ready and on the road within four hours, possibly with no specific destination initially, other than to start driving in a general direction. Volunteers can expect to be gone for up to twenty-one days for each deployment. The Nashville Area Chapter of the American Red Cross has 13 trained volunteers who serve as ECRV operators.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.