DFW, Texas September 11, 2013 — Friday the 13th marks the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Ike’s deadly landfall at Galveston Island, Texas. Around 6,000 evacuees fled from the area and headed north to Dallas-Fort Worth, seeking shelter from the American Red Cross. Unbelievably, the Red Cross, a national leader and early adopter of digital communications platforms, did not send a single Tweet or post even one Facebook status update. The reason was because those platforms had yet to be used by the organization to send and receive emergency communications.
A short five-years later, the digital world has changed drastically and today, the American Red Cross is appealing for volunteers savvy in the social media space to join their team.
“Our first digital volunteer joined us about 18 months ago,” said Amy Yen, digital communications manager, American Red Cross. “He started by helping us live-Tweet during storms.” Today, volunteers still live-Tweet about the weather, as well as create daily blog posts, shoot smart phone videos that can upload to YouTube and help the organization listen and respond to community questions and concerns.
“Our goal is simple. We want to get the timeliest information about disasters to the community,” said Yen. “And because disasters happen 24/7, we need volunteers to help us get information out, and to respond to the community as they have questions about how to help, where to go, etc.”
Last September, @RedCrossDFW, the local Red Cross Twitter feed, was recognized by the White House for their outstanding work in saving lives during emergencies.
Training is provided to Red Cross volunteers free of charge and courses are being offered on September 24 and 25, 2013 at the American Red Cross-Dallas Area chapter. Anyone interested in joining the American Red Cross digital volunteer team is encouraged to visit http://www.redcross.org/tx/dallas-fort-worth/contact and reference “digital volunteer”.
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 redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.