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Red Cross Volunteers Ready to Help Fairgoers during Final Weekend

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I have always known the first aid station was there, but never realized what a great job you do."

American Red Cross volunteers are staying busy assisting people who may need medical care while visiting the Iowa State Fair. As of Thursday, August14, the 150 Red Cross first aid station volunteers have provided more than 3,609 first aid services from the three stations on the Fairgrounds. The most common needs at the State Fair are band aids for blisters and Ibuprofen or Tylenol. There have been much more serious incidents, and more than 25 people have been transported to area hospitals by the Des Moines Fire Department.  

A man from Washington, Iowa, who was treated by Red Cross volunteers on Friday, August 8, had to have emergency gall bladder surgery that evening. On Tuesday, he returned to the Fair to thank the Red Cross volunteers who assisted him. He said, “I have always known the first aid station was there, but never realized what a great job all of you are doing.” 

Each day, approximately 40 Red Cross volunteers work at the first aid stations at the Hy-Vee Health Center, in the Register building and at the Des Moines University Mobile clinic.  As of Thursday, August 14, Red Cross volunteers have worked 1,593 hours at the Iowa State Fair.  The first aid stations are open from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m. for the 11 days of the Fair.  The Iowa State Fair does not pay for Red Cross first aid services. It does, however, reimburse us for first aid supplies. Nevertheless, the Red Cross could not support the first aid stations at the Iowa State Fair without our dedicated and very well trained volunteers. 61of the first aid station volunteers are nurses, EMT’s or doctors. 

The Iowa State Fair is the single largest non-disaster deployment of American Red Cross volunteers in Iowa. Of course, during the State Fair our volunteers continue to respond to the most common disaster threat in Iowa: home fires. On Thursday and Friday, Red Cross volunteers responded to four home fires in Audubon, Lenox (Adams County,) Manchester and Centerville; comforting 15 people including six children.  Based on the families’ needs, Red Cross will assist with emergency items such as food, clothing, shelter and medications.  People can visit www.redcross.org for more steps they can take to lessen the chance of a fire in their home.

The Red Cross depends on the generosity of the American people to fulfill our mission.  Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods and home fires can make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief  by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.

The Red Cross invites the public to sign up to volunteer and be a part of the lifesaving work it does. The Red Cross is looking for diverse volunteers of all ages and skill levels. People can go to redcross.org/ia to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.