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Southeast LA Red Cross Testing Next Generation Emergency Response Vehicle

American Red Cross Chapters in South Louisiana are part of a national test of the next generation of the organization’s emergency response vehicle, with the new vehicle prototype in South Louisiana March 18, through March 21, 2013.

“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 Kay W. Wilkins, CEO American Red Cross South Louisiana 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.”

Chapters across South Louisiana are 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 responsevehicles while saving millions of dollars by switching to a more effective platform with reduced maintenance costs,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Services. “With the help of communities in South Louisiana 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 media are invited to preview the next generation emergency response vehicle on the following dates:


Monday March 18


American Red Cross Southeast Louisiana Chapter - Northshore

300 Ashland Way

Madisonville, LA 70447

New Orleans

Monday March 18

6:00p.m. - 8:00p.m.

American Red Cross Southeast Louisiana Chapter

2640 Canal St.

New Orleans, LA 70119

Baton Rouge

Tuesday March 19


American Red Cross Louisiana Capital Area Chapter

4655 Sherwood Common Blvd.

Baton Rouge, LA 70816


Thursday March 21

11:30a.m.- 1:30p.m.

Location – TBD

Lake Charles

Thursday March 21

5:30p.m.- 7:30p.m.

American Red Cross Southwest Louisiana Chapter

3512 Kirkman Street

Lake Charles, LA 70607

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 supportU.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.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 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

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