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Red Cross Hosts Functional and Access Needs (FAN) Fair

Emergency personnel and volunteers are the first line of hope for residents in the face of a disaster. - Becky White, disaster specialist.

Over 100 first responders and disaster volunteers attended the first-ever FAN (Functional and Access Needs) Fair, an interactive learning workshop on Saturday, November 2, at the American Red Cross – St. Louis Regional Headquarters. During the workshop, participants had an opportunity to meet one-on-one with St. Louis area organizations serving various functional and access needs populations to learn about maintaining independence, communication, transportation, supervision and medical care.

The American Red Cross-St. Louis Area Chapter with the All Ready Campaign will provided attendees with training, simulations and resources to better serve those living with disabilities during emergencies. With challenges to communicate, evacuate and stay safe, the more than 225,000 St. Louis area residents living with a disability are at greater risk than the general public during an emergency.

“Emergency personnel and volunteers are the first line of hope for residents in the face of a disaster,” says Becky White, American Red Cross disaster specialist. “It is imperative that they are equipped with the knowledge and confidence to assist all residents, including those living with functional and access needs.”

Participants were given a “passport” upon arrival to be stamped at numerous educational stations, which included such interactive activities as an obstacle course in which participants experienced firsthand what evacuating during an emergency is like for those with a disability.

“Too often those living with disabilities are overlooked in emergency situations,” said David Newburger, City of St. Louis Commissioner on the Disabled and All Ready Steering Committee chair. “Whether it’s a functional disability or an accessibility issue, we want to ensure that those assisting disabled residents are able to not only effectively but compassionately serve these members of our communities.”

For additional information on the types of emergencies the St. Louis region may face and important details on how to better prepare, visit and


All Ready is an emergency preparedness initiative designed to help the St. Louis region better anticipate and prepare for emergencies through the individual preparedness efforts of residents. This effort combines resources from emergency preparedness experts around the region and nation in a single place to make preparing for emergencies simple. Through All Ready, residents can learn about and implement the three simple steps to emergency preparedness: 1) Make a plan. 2) Get a kit. 3) Be informed. Learn more at


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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.