For more than 50 years, the San Gabriel Pomona Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross has provided first aid support for the Rose Parade, sustaining the efforts of parade participants and the thousands of watchers. This year over 100 trained volunteers responded to medical emergencies, both large and small, at events leading up to the parade, on parade day and during post-parade, float viewing.
During this year’s ramp-up to New Year’s Day, the wonderful weather caused practicing bands and float decorators some heat-related issues. Before the first marcher stepped off, the Red Cross had helped over 25 individuals, mostly with water and band aids.
On parade day itself, the Red Cross operated 13 stations, spread out over the entire 5.5 miles of the route with the teams arriving on site before 6AM and staying throughout the event. About 60 people were served, and hundreds more helped themselves to water kept on hand to hydrate attendees.
At the conclusion of the parade, many of those same volunteers moved directly to the end of the route to provide assistance during Float Viewing, while another team joined the crowd at the Rose Bowl, as part of the medical team for the game. The First Aid presence continued through a second day of Float Viewing and even into the following week during the BCS game at the Rose Bowl.
All told, these volunteer “First Aiders” will have contributed hundreds of hours of combined service in support. Volunteers come from as close by as Pasadena and as far away as Arizona. They come from a variety of backgrounds and include our next generation of youth volunteers, learning from those who have experienced over 40 parades as Red Cross volunteers.