2018 was another year of record-breaking disasters across the U.S., with deadly wildfires, destructive hurricanes, and other tragic events affecting millions of people from coast to coast. Time and again, families turned to the American Red Cross during their darkest hours, and thanks to many extremely dedicated volunteers and generous donors, we were there to provide shelter, food, comfort and hope.
"When major disasters upended lives across the country this year, Red Cross volunteers from our community answered the call to help -- nearly 200 times in total," said Gary Striar, Regional CEO for the American Red Cross. "All the while, local volunteers continued to provide relief and comfort when home fires and other emergencies impacted neighbors here at home."
In 2018, volunteer disaster workers from the Eastern New York Region deployed 193 times, supporting 26 different large-scale relief operations including Hurricanes Florence and Michael in the Southeast U.S., Typhoon Yutu in the Northern Mariana Islands, and the devastating Camp Fire in Northern California. Incredibly, this exceeds a record set just last year, when local volunteers deployed 166 times to respond to disasters like Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.
Locally, Red Cross volunteers worked tirelessly to help their neighbors, responding to 472 local disasters - mostly home fires - and providing relief in the wake of four large emergencies, including January's ice jams and floods in the North Country, as well as the tragic Schoharie limousine accident in October. Red Cross volunteers and partners installed 5,867 free smoke alarms in 2018, and provided fire safety education to 2,466 local families.
Beyond disaster relief and preparedness, Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) volunteers provided support to 1,970 local service members, veterans and military families this year. And across Eastern New York, we held nearly 3,000 blood drives and collected 72,343 blood donations to support patients in need. (All data as of December 10, 2018.)