Emergencies can happen anywhere and at any time, so it’s critical to have the knowledge of how to respond. The American Samoa Red Cross helps ensure health and safety by training the community how to conduct lifesaving skills. Hands Only CPR classes are regularly presented to empower people to act when they see someone suffering from a cardiac incident or other health emergency.
When disastrous weather strikes, the Red Cross has responded to help those in need.
- 1931: In 1931, after a cyclone hit, membership jumped from 200 to 370 people in a show of the people’s desire to help one another in times of need.
- 1987: The Red Cross responded with aid and supplies after Tropical Cyclone Tusi cause catastrophic damage in 1987.
- 1991: Tropical Cyclone Val devastated the islands for five days in 1991, receiving the highest Red Cross disaster rating at the time. Five service centers opened, and 69 workers were assigned in response to the $50 million in damage.
- 2003: When Tropical Cyclone Heta struck in late 2003, more than 600 homes were destroyed and over 4,000 more damaged. With so many residents requiring sheltering, the Red Cross activated 11 visiting and 170 local volunteers.
- 2009: In 2009, an 8.1 magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami with waves up to 55 feet. Almost 200 people were tragically lost, with over 2,000 homes damaged or destroyed, a widespread loss of water and power and over 3,500 people served for an estimated material damage total of $200 million.
- 2018: Tropical Cyclone Gita hit in 2018 and the Red Cross service center responded with the help of 193 local and 33 visiting staff and volunteers. Over 2,400 emergency supplies were distributed, 13 shelters opened, 15,337 meals served and 11,140 people assisted.
- 2021: Hands Only CPR training opportunities reached the Manu’a Islands in 2021, bringing lifesaving skills to strengthen the wider community.
Disasters often strike without warning, but people can always prepare for how they’ll respond. The American Samoa Red Cross regularly provides preparedness education that genuinely saves lives.
Prepare with Pedro and Pillowcase Project presentations teach children to be ready when confronted with a home fire or other disaster. The Sound the Alarm program brings these valuable lessons into homes as volunteers visit community members to install free smoke alarms and teach residents how to create emergency plans to ensure the safety of family members.
In 2021, a family who had received smoke alarms and discussed home fire safety planning with Red Cross volunteers found themselves in a situation where those resources were needed. Their decisive action in the face of danger allowed the family to escape.
The Red Cross teaches families, people in classrooms, organizations and corporations how to Be Red Cross Ready for disasters and emergencies by taking simple steps.
Service to the Armed Forces
The American Samoa Red Cross also supports military servicemembers, veterans and their families. This is done with international tracing and messaging for loved ones separated by armed conflict. The Red Cross also participates in professional training and health services.