Local Red Cross Relies on Preparedness, Dedicated Volunteers and Partners to Fulfill Vital Mission


The American Red Cross is committed to its lifesaving mission of preventing and alleviating human suffering in the face of emergencies. Every eight minutes, the Red Cross responds to a disaster somewhere in the United States. In the Pittsburgh area, volunteers and staff respond to a local disaster nearly once every 29 hours.

Since last Thursday, with the help of its dedicated volunteers and generous community partners, the local Red Cross has responded to nine separate incidents in the Pittsburgh area, including six multi-unit fires. During these responses, Red Cross workers assisted more than 60 individuals with their immediate-disaster caused needs and provided support and comfort to more than 100 individuals.

Alongside other community organizations – including the Salvation Army and the Area Agency on Aging – the Red Cross quickly responded to a 180-unit apartment fire in Shadyside last Thursday, providing blankets and comfort items, as well as facilitating a generous donation of clothing. The Red Cross remained on scene all day, prepared to open a shelter for the displaced residents, depending on the needs.

Since the response in Shadyside, the Red Cross has also been called to the scene of several single-family fires, a multi-home fire in McKeesport, as well as multi-unit apartment fires in Oakland, the Hill District, East Liberty and Dormont.

The Red Cross is dedicated not only to responding to disasters quickly, but to preparing for them year-round. This preparation allows the organization to increase its disaster response capacity, so it can meet the immediate needs of disaster victims quickly and efficiently. As part of its readiness efforts, for example, the organization will hold its second region-wide disaster preparedness drill on Saturday, April 27.

“We engage in preparedness efforts and activities throughout the year,” said Patricia Waldinger, CEO of the American Red Cross Western Pennsylvania Region. “This preparation and response, along with other key Red Cross services, could not be possible without the generous commitment of local donors, partners and volunteers.”

One such partner, United States Steel Corporation, has generously donated funds which have allowed for the purchase of 20 community evacuation trailers containing supplies to open Red Cross shelters, which have been staged throughout the Pittsburgh area. The company’s generosity has also enabled the purchase of a Family Services Vehicle, which is used to provide a private, temperature-regulated space for displaced families to meet with Red Cross workers after a disaster. These resources were leveraged and utilized in the numerous responses since this past Thursday.

For more information on the Red Cross serving Pittsburgh, its preparedness and response efforts or its community partners, please call 412-263-3100.

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