The crisis began on Friday, November 1, at about 9:20AM at Los Angeles International Airport, one of the busiest airports in America. A lone gunman opened fire, killing a TCA officer and wounding other agents, as well as a traveler. At the request of local authorities, the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region was asked to join the extensive response to the crisis which stranded thousands of travelers. Within hours of the shooting, the Red Cross response was fully mobilized. Red Cross staff were soon in place at the city’s Emergency Operation Center and LAX’s Disaster Operations Center.
Four teams of Emergency Response Vehicles (ERV) were swiftly deployed to LAX terminal areas to provide for the needs of both responders and a multitude of travelers standing outside in the heat. A box truck with thousands of bottles of water was dispatched from a warehouse as a part of the effort. Red Cross couriers were used to deliver additional supplies as well as transport volunteers and staff to locations in and around the airport to better serve the stranded passengers.
By early afternoon, in conjunction with the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, the Red Cross opened two shelter facilities near the airport to serve travelers separated from their luggage, identification and money. The shelter was relocated to Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX at the request of the Red Cross, in order to better serve the travelers still inside the airport. Coordinating with airport officials, this transition was facilitated in a matter of hours.
That Friday evening, the Red Cross offered comfort and care to 33 clients at the shelter who stayed overnight. Meals were provided through Saturday morning, at which time, travelers were then able to begin collecting their belongings and making arrangements to return home. By early afternoon, the Red Cross went into stand-by mode, with two shelter teams remaining on stand-by Saturday night and Sunday morning.
While the emergency response to the shooting was underway, the Red Cross Los Angeles Region was also mobilizing to respond to fires, something this region does as many as 300 times a year. Five Disaster Action Teams (DAT) were called to single-dwelling and multiple-dwelling fires around the region.
“The exceptional response of volunteers and staff enabled us to provide much-needed support in the wake of the terrible situation at LAX,” said Paul Schulz, CEO of the Los Angeles Region. “We are so grateful for and immensely proud of everyone’s contributions throughout a difficult weekend.”