American Red Cross National Capital & Greater Chesapeake Region
Media Contact: Ashley Henyan
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Busy 2023 for Red Cross National Capital & Greater Chesapeake Region
Volunteers respond to growing humanitarian needs across the U.S.; local teams verify at least 32 more lives saved from free smoke alarms in 2023
WASHINGTON, DC, BALTIMORE, WILMINGTON, DE, NOVEMBER 20, 2023 — In 2023, the intensifying climate crisis took a devastating toll on people in the U.S. who turned to the American Red Cross for help coping with a record number of billion-dollar disasters.
So far this year, an all-time high of 25 billion-dollar disasters ravaged communities across the country. In addition, families sweltered in the nation’s hottest summer on record, and back-to-back disasters led to a series of blood drive cancellations, which further strained the national Red Cross blood supply that was already dwindling from summer travel and back-to-school activities.
“With the growing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events driven by the climate crisis, the Red Cross is racing to adapt its services and grow our disaster response capacity across the country,” said Dale Kunce, CEO for the Red Cross of the National Capital & Greater Chesapeake Region. “In 2023, trained volunteers from our region alone deployed for a collective 6,500 days in response to disasters across the country; and as part of our national work, Red Cross teams distributed $108 million in financial assistance directly to people after disasters of all sizes.”
Help on GivingTuesday and during the holiday season by visiting redcross.org to make a financial donation or to make an appointment to give blood or platelets.
SMOKE ALARMS SAVE LIVES ACOSS THE REGION: Having properly working smoke alarms in homes can reduce fire-related deaths and injuries by up to 50 percent. That’s why the American Red Cross, alongside community partners, began installing free smoke alarms in homes across the US. in 2014—and to date, over 1,990 lives have been saved because of these efforts.
Recently, 32 additional lives saved have been documented in the National Capital & Greater Chesapeake Red Cross Region. This brings the total lives saved in our local Red Cross region's footprint to 64 lives since 2014. The recent 32 lives saved stem from free smoke alarm installation events, known as Sound the Alarm events, between 2014 and 2022 and after tragic home fire-related incidents in 2022 and 2023. Twenty two out of the 32 lives saved were documented in Baltimore City—with five in Lanham, three in Dundalk and two in southeast Washington, DC.
"The frame of my mom's home is all that is left, but our love for each other is still here,” said one free smoke alarm recipient and house fire survivor from Baltimore City. “To actually go through it, to experience a home fire, it is something no one should ever go through. My mother's house could've burnt to the ground – and it all just happened so fast. I know how important a working smoke alarm is because my brother, my mother and I all got out of the house in time!"
The Red Cross of the National Capital & Greater Chesapeake region responds to around 1,300 home fire-related emergencies every year and relies on trained volunteers, called disaster action team members, to provide essential resources – including financial support – to families after these tragic disasters. Right now the Red Cross needs more volunteers to help families after home fires in DC, Baltimore and Wilmington, DE. Those interested in volunteering can get started as a Red Cross disaster action team members at RedCross.org/volunteer.
RESPONDING TO ADDITIONAL EMERGING NEEDS: Beyond the climate crisis and the lifesaving impact of free smoke alarms, people stepped up in 2023 through the Red Cross to address other emerging needs for communities, including:
BLOOD DONATIONS: As the nation’s largest blood supplier, the Red Cross is grateful for the millions of donors who rolled up a sleeve throughout the year for patients in need. To further improve people’s health outcomes, the Red Cross has been working with community partners to introduce blood donation to a new and more diverse generation of blood donors — which is critical to ensuring that a reliable blood supply is available to the 1 in 7 hospital patients who need a lifesaving blood transfusion. The holidays can be a challenging time to collect enough blood for those in need. To book a time to give, visit RedCrossBlood.org, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App or call 1-800-RED CROSS.
LIFESAVING TRAINING: This year, the Red Cross expanded its training to empower people to act during current-day crises — which is vital considering that nearly half of U.S. adults report being unprepared to respond to a medical emergency. This included launching the new “Until Help Arrives” online training course last spring for opioid overdoses, severe bleeding, cardiac arrest and choking emergencies, and partnering with professional sports leagues through the Smart Heart Sports Coalition to help prevent tragedies among student athletes by offering CPR training and increasing access to AEDs.
MILITARY FAMILIES: Red Cross workers helped service members on U.S. military installations and deployment sites worldwide — including in Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. As part of our support this year, Red Cross volunteers delivered emergency communications messages connecting more than 87,000 service members with their loved ones during times of family need, while also engaging members in morale and wellness activities during deployments.
INTERNATIONAL: As part of the world’s largest humanitarian network, the American Red Cross supported international response efforts to disasters such as this year’s massive earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria, the drought and hunger crisis in Africa, and flooding in Pakistan and Bangladesh. This has included providing millions in cash assistance, food, shelter, basic supplies, medical care and mental health services. As devastating conflicts persist in other areas of the world, the global Red Cross Movement continues to provide aid for people suffering, including those in Ukraine and in Israel and Gaza, as part of its neutral, humanitarian mission.
Visit RedCross.org/NCGC for more information about how the Red Cross of the National Capital & Greater Chesapeake Region helped people in local communities in 2023.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
# # #