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Trained Red Cross Volunteers Save Miners in Colombia

Trained Red Cross Volunteers Save Miners in Colombia

When a gold mine collapsed in Risaralda, Colombia in mid-November, the trapped workers’ neighbors— trained and equipped by the American Red Cross—rushed to the scene in time to help save three lives.

Local volunteers began the rescue operation by removing earth and debris while police assisted with oxygen tanks, keeping the miners alive throughout the ordeal. The fire department took over the rescue mission upon its arrival, and the three miners were safely brought back to surface.

Scenes like this one are common in small towns and large cities all around the globe. Neighbors helping neighbors. Passersby lending a hand in the height of an emergency. Volunteers dropping everything to rescue people in trouble. And there’s one thing that many of these everyday heroes have in common: they know how to help because they received training from the Red Cross.

In Risaralda, Colombia—the scene of the gold mine collapse—the American Red Cross and Cruz Roja Colombiana have been active for years.

In fact, the Red Cross trained volunteers in Risaralda on first aid, taught basic search and rescue techniques, helped the community to develop an emergency plan, and provided the community with rescue and safety equipment for use in disasters. The skills and resources acquired through the training sessions helped community members to act as a first response team and help save three lives that day.

The American Red Cross works in towns throughout Colombia and around the world—teaching community members to be their own first responders when emergencies strike. Stories like the one from Risaralda demonstrate disaster preparedness at its best.

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, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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