A new, “next generation” emergency response vehicle prototype will be making a tour of local American Red Cross chapters in Colorado over the next week as part of a national Red Cross pilot test to gather feedback from Red Cross volunteers.
Red Cross volunteers and members of the media are invited to come check out the prototype vehicle as it makes stops in Fort Collins, Keystone, Denver, Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Alamosa, Durango and Grand Junction. (See below for schedule.)
“This is an incredible opportunity for our community to be a part of shaping the future of our services and the iconic Red Cross response vehicle,” said Jaici Murcia, Emergency Services Director for the Red Cross Mile High Region. “Our community will help ensure that this redesigned vehicle will effectively provide help, hope and comfort to people in need after disasters across the country.”
The Colorado chapters are among two dozen Red Cross chapters across the country participating in the testing and assessment program for the new vehicles.
The prototypes are the result of a five-year process engaging Red Cross volunteers, staff, partners and the design community to create a vehicle that is more cost efficient and provides a better experience for both Red Crossers and the people we help. Currently, the Red Cross has more than 320 emergency response vehicles in 49 states that are used after disasters like home fires, tornadoes and floods to serve meals, snacks and beverages to families and distribute relief supplies.
“Over the next decade, the Red Cross expects to replace our current fleet of response vehicles while saving millions of dollars by switching to a more effective platform with reduced maintenance costs,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president of Red Cross Disaster Services. “With the help of communities from the Front Range to the Western Slope, we’ll be able to make sure that the new design meets the needs of the people who turn to us for help after disasters.”
The Red Cross has a long history of providing help and comfort from mobile vehicles. In 1898, Clara Barton used a wagon as an ambulance for her work on the battlefield. During World War II, the Red Cross used clubmobiles to support U.S. servicemen. In 1984, the Red Cross began to standardize the organization's disaster response vehicles around an ambulance design. Prior to the 1984 initiative, the Red Cross used converted bread trucks, station wagons and pickup trucks to deliver meals and snacks after disasters. The prototypes that are being tested today represent the next generation of these historic response vehicles.