Although weather patterns are notoriously hard to predict, the Red Cross prides itself on being ready to meet the challenges of natural disasters. Weather-related crises like hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires, and blizzards are "typical" emergencies that can require the mobilization of people and equipment from all over the nation. Before, during and after a disaster occurs, employees and volunteers are organizing mass care services (shelter and food for a large quantity of individuals), preparing family services casework (assessing short- and long-term needs), performing crisis mental health counseling and doing damage assessment of homes affected by the catastrophe.
Disasters come in a variety of shapes and sizes, many of which are not as immediately predictable as a hurricane. For instance, the Red Cross responds to some disasters that are human-caused, such as industrial accidents. In fact, the Chapter has a team of disaster mental health volunteers who are experts in assisting people affected by plane crashes.