Red Cross Stays Busy in Sumter


Written by: Nancy Cataldo, Executive Director, American Red Cross, Sandhills Chapter

Yesterday, the Sandhills Chapter of the American Red Cross was very busy helping members of the community recover after a home fire, as well as practicing for future hurricane responses.

Red Cross volunteer, Steve Shumake, responded to a fire that completely destroyed a home in Sumter.  In total, he assisted a family of four including a nine year-old child. He provided the family financial assistance to purchase food and clothing lost in the fire, as well as temporary lodging and referrals to local agencies.

One adult suffered severe burns and was flown to the August Burn Center in Georgia.  We have been in contact with the Augusta Chapter of the Red Cross to check on the client in the hospital and get updates on his condition. We will continue to be there for this family on their road to recovery.

Yesterday we were also busy participating in a State Hurricane Exercise in Clarendon County.  The exercise involved a shelter opening at Manning High School as a result of a hurricane evacuation. Red Cross staff and volunteers partnered with South Carolina Emergency Management and the Department of Social Services (DSS) to open the shelter and provide services to the individuals that registered. We also had a volunteer that staffed the Clarendon Emergency Operations Center.

As part of the day, the Red Cross trained 42 DSS workers in Shelter Operations and 12 people participated in our Shelter Simulation class. Our partners at McDonald’s in Manning provided the lunch and Clarendon School District 2 provided snacks and drinks to all participants.

As you can see yesterday was a busy day.  We were able to help a family in their darkest hour and also prepare to help our community in the event of a large disaster because of you. Thank you to our dedicated volunteers for giving their time and to our financial donors for supporting our mission each and every day.


It’s Here! Red Cross Launches New Hurricane App

Official Hurrican App is now available on both iPhone and Android phones.

The American Red Cross has launched a free Hurricane App, providing people who live in or visit hurricane prone areas with life saving information. This app is the first in its series of disaster-specific apps being released this summer, and is available on both iPhone and Android phones.

It gives instant access to local and real time information on what to do before, during and after hurricanes. Building on the Red Cross’ leadership in the social media space, the app also includes a number of features that allow people to monitor personalized weather alerts in locations where family and friends reside and share information with others in their social networks who might also need it.

The launch of the Red Cross hurricane app comes just before what is traditionally the busiest period of the Atlantic hurricane season. Features of the app include:

  • One touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends via social media outlets that they are out of harm’s way;
  • Location-based NOAA weather alerts for the United States and its territories users can share on social networks;
  • Remote monitoring of personalized weather alerts where family and friends reside
  • Locations of open Red Cross shelters;
  • Simple steps and checklists people can use to create a family emergency plan;
  • Preloaded content that gives users instant access to critical action steps, even without mobile connectivity;
  • Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm; and
  • Badges users can earn through interactive quizzes and share on social networks.

People who need to get out of harm’s way quickly can tap the “I’m Safe” button to post a message to their social accounts, letting friends and loved ones know they are okay.

The new Hurricane App allows users to locate Red Cross shelters in their area.

Other features include:

  • Toolkit with a flashlight, a strobe light and an audible alarm;
  • Locations of open Red Cross shelters;
  • Simple steps and checklists to create a family emergency plan; and
  • Preloaded preparedness content that gives instant access to critical action steps even without mobile connectivity.

It’s important that people can access this information right on their mobile device. And with natural disasters, it’s vital that people can share weather warnings, preparedness information and their own status immediately with their social networks.

The Red Cross is an established leader in teaching people the skills the need to survive life’s emergencies and now we want to become the leader in putting help in everyone’s hand. We want people to be ready to respond to emergencies and spread emergency information on their social networks, any where, any time-even if they don’t have formal training.

The Hurricane and First Aid Apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.  Downloading the First Aid app is not a substitute for training. First Aid and CPR/AED training empowers people to know how to respond to emergencies in case advanced medical help is delayed. People can visit for course information and to register.

One Year after Japan’s Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami, Generosity of the American Public helped Japan Transition from Relief to Recovery

American Red Cross helped provide relief and assistance to hundreds of thousands of families.

With help from donations that were made to the American Red Cross following Japan’s tragic earthquake and Pacific tsunami, the country is firmly on the path to recovery a year later. 

 “The donations of people in the Columbia Region and across the country to the American Red Cross has been critical in moving Japan from a state of disaster relief to recovery and rebuilding,” said Scott R. Salemme, regional chief executive officer, American Red Cross, Columbia Region.  “Whether it’s offering emotional support to someone struggling with trauma, building much needed healthcare facilities, or providing appliances to a family moving into a temporary home, those donations to the Red Cross are helping the Japanese people look to the future.”

 Donations to the American Red Cross have helped the Japanese Red Cross:

  • Provide more than 316,000 survivors with necessary appliances for their temporary housing, including refrigerators, washing machines and rice cookers.
  • Support construction of four temporary hospitals, one permanent hospital and a community health clinic.
  • Rebuild a Red Cross nursing school that will train specialists in disaster medical care
  • Provide more than 87,000 people with health services through Japanese Red Cross mobile teams and temporary clinics.
  • Comfort 14,000 people by counselors trained to deal with disaster-related trauma.
  • Provide transportation and vaccinations for the elderly and educational support, temporary school gyms and play areas for children.
  • Improve the disaster response capacity of the Japanese Red, so critical to saving lives.

“Our heartfelt thanks go to everyone who has generously donated funds through the American Red Cross and national societies in many other countries,” said Tadateru Konoe, president of the Japanese Red Cross and the International Federation of the Red Cross. “Through your support we have been able to help survivors regain their resilience and also increase our preparedness to face up to potential future disasters.”

 The American Red Cross was one of the largest private, international contributors to the Japan earthquake and Pacific tsunami response, raising more than $312 million. One year later, virtually all of the funds have been spent. Because of these donations, the Japanese Red Cross was able to bring emergency comfort to those living in shelters and later able to provide the supplies and services needed to help them get back on their feet.

For more information on Red Cross relief and recovery efforts in Japan can be found in the one-year report.

Hurricane Irene Case Statement


Delivering Help, Providing Hope

The Red Cross Response to Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene made landfall on August 26, devastating parts of the East Coast with torrential rains and high-speed winds. The hurricane downed trees and power lines, and flooded many communities, leaving many of those in its path with the daunting task of starting over.  They are turning to the American Red Cross for the shelter, food and emergency assistance that is critical to beginning their recovery.  The Red Cross is turning to you. With your support, we can ensure each and every person receives the help they need to cope with the devastating aftermath of this storm.

From the moment this hurricane threatened the East Coast, the Red Cross mobilized on all fronts. Even though every disaster response begins with the local Red Cross chapter, during large scale disasters such as hurricanes, the Red Cross network of more than 600 chapters leverages its force of more than 60,000 trained disaster workers, diverse partnerships for such services as meals or logistic support, strategically located warehouses stocked with relief items and more than 320 emergency response vehicles to trigger the rapid deployment of resources from across the nation to the East Coast.  The Red Cross was there, and will remain, until the last person who seeks assistance receives it. 

One Family’s Story of Hope and Comfort in a Red Cross Shelter

Florence Topping cradled her sleeping great-grandson,Tyler, in her lap and gazed calmly across the American Red Cross shelter in a church gymnasium inRocky Mount,N.C., Friday, August 26.  Nearby, church members entertained her other two great-grandchildren, Ny’Mir and Miricah, with a story and coloring books. 

(Click here for more pictures)

The Red Cross delivered hot meals to Florence and her neighbors after Hurricane Isabel left them without electricity in 2003.  But with forecasters touting Hurricane Irene’s disastrous potential, she thought it best to leave her little community of Swan Quarter, protected from the open Atlantic only by frail Okracoke Island.

The Red Cross is arranging for meals to be brought in for the nearly 60 evacuees; the county health department has nurses on hand.  At the Red Cross shelter,Florencefound a cot for herself and sleeping mats for the children. “They did fall asleep, even with being so excited,” she said gratefully.

The Red Cross has opened 500 shelters where displaced residents can find hot meals, a safe place to wait out the storm and support to develop long-term recovery plans.  Those returning to their homes to either begin repairs or rummage through debris for priceless keepsakes are supported by Red Cross disaster workers delivering cleanup supplies such as gloves, rakes and garbage bags, as well as meals and snacks from our emergency response vehicles.  While some trained disaster workers assess damage to determine the resources needed by those affected, others are comforting residents reeling from the sudden loss of their belongings and the disruption of their lives.  Those who lost contact with their loved ones and do not have power or telephone service can leave message of their wellbeing for the Safe and Well Red Cross website at any Red Cross shelter.

It is only through the generosity of our donors that the Red Cross is able to provide these services to those affected by disasters like Hurricane Irene.  Every year the Red Cross spends an average of $450 million on our Disaster Services program.  That includes the cost of the direct services to our clients – feeding, sheltering and emotional support – for the nearly 70,000 disasters we respond to each year.  It also includes the costs to maintain those things that help us provide assistance to people in need.  We have warehouses, disaster response vehicles, volunteers, call centers, computer systems and staff ready to respond year round.  If we didn’t maintain these resources 24-7, we couldn’t get help to people in a timely fashion.  Any donation is deeply appreciated and will greatly help our efforts.

The Red Cross is doing everything we can to ensure that when families and individuals are affected by disaster, we are there.  We need your help if we are to continue to provide the level of service that families and individuals need and expect from us whenever and wherever disaster strikes. 

How You Can Help

You can help people affected by disasters like Hurricane Irene, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief.  Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters.  Visit call 1-800-RED-CROSS.  Contributions may also be sent to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 91, Columbia, SC 29202.