Creating A Fire Evacuation Plan & Things You Might Not Know About The American Red Cross

Thank you to the American Red Cross for sponsoring this post. All opinions remain my own. 

When I think of the America Red Cross there are a few things that come to mind. The most popular for me is knowing that you can donate blood. Now, if you know me personally then you know I am the biggest baby when it comes to all things needles. I am still baffled how I've managed to have three kids.
My husband and I even had a running joke for awhile about the Red Cross. While I might not be the one jumping at the chance to give blood, he has the type of blood that anyone can receive, and he was very diligent about donating it. Sure enough, every few weeks the Red Cross would call to try and get him to come back in. Sometimes, they would  call at odd times during the day, and we'd joke when his phone would ring, and say, is that the Red Cross calling?

Aside from donating blood, I knew the Red Cross would help when it came to disaster relief, specifically hurricanes, but other than that, I really can't say I knew much more. When the opportunity came about for me to be apart of a blogging event with 14 other bloggers to visit the Red Cross at their headquarters in Washington D.C., I was excited to learn more and hear about the ins and outs of the organization.

I can honestly say, after my time with the executives and team members of the American Red Cross, it is apparent that they strive to stay focused on their vision and mission of helping people in times of need and to alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies.

My time in D.C. with the American Red Cross was eye opening. I left with a greater appreciation for the organization, their time and efforts for all that they do, and their transparency for how they've handle some difficult situations.

Since I had the opportunity to walk away with some gained knowledge about the organization, I wanted to share it with all of you.

Did You Know? 

That while the American Red Cross Headquarters might be located in D.C., they are not a government organization. 

They are the leading supplier of blood donations in the nation.

Majority of the humanitarian work is carried out through volunteers of the organization with 95% of disaster relief workers being volunteers. 

The Red Cross offers training classes such as CPR, Lifeguarding, Swimming and Water Safety, Child Care and Babysitting, just to name a few.  

There's an app for that. One of the things I learned, is that they offer different apps for different situations. Apps for emergencies, instant access to first aid tips, and more. 

They provide services to the armed forces and serve over 2 million military personnel, including active duty, National Guard and Reserve, as well as veterans. 

They also provide international services and are helping to save lives all around the world. 

They respond to an emergency every 8 minutes. 

90 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to the cause. 

They respond to an average of 62,000 disasters every year. 

90% of disasters they respond to are home fires. 

They have a campaign referred to as, sound the alarm, where they have installed over 1.8 million fire alarms in homes around the nation.  

As you can see, the American Red Cross is more than just donating blood and being there when disaster strikes. They're present and ready to respond day in and day out. 

One of the services provided that played a big impact for me, was sound the alarm. While many of us would like to think that a fire won't happen to us, you just never know. We unfortunately know people that have been impacted by the disaster of a fire, and so many things can be prevented or precautions taken ahead of time.

When I learned the Red Cross had fire escape plan dry eras boards, I knew this was something I wanted to take back with me to share with my little ones. I will never forget, one night before I was putting A to bed, he mentioned that a fire fighter made a visit to his class and talked about fire safety. Before he went to bed, he wanted us to go around and check all of the smoke alarms to make sure they worked, and asked us some very detailed questions about how he would get out of his room if something happened.

Having these fire escape plan boards on hand allowed the boys to take a closer look at their rooms, where the stairs are located, what windows they can access, and the doors they can use. We now also implemented a meeting place outside, God forbid something should happen, and everyone knows once you are out, you stay out.

These type of conversations aren't always easy to have with little ones, but it's so important to allow them to feel prepared and to be open and honest with you. They asked us a lot of questions about this. Things like, what about our pets, our toys, what if we have to jump, and what if we hear the alarm but don't see fire.

After they were able to draw out a plan with my husband and I, they felt better about knowing what to do if something happens. They will also randomly bring it up from time to time. We might be sitting around at dinner and they say, if a fire were to start now, we'd run out the back door.

What I also loved about this campaign was that it's an easy way for all of us to get involved. You can partner with your local Red Cross to find out when they have days to go out and install fire alarms. It was something I was able to do during a presentation at the Red Cross. And if I can do it, anyone can do it.

There are many different ways we can all get involved to help give back and ways that we can give of our time. It makes me think even more about giving back and being prepared for emergencies with Hurricane Dorian doing some major damage. They even have personal safety emergency packs that are one step ahead of us and designed to support you for a short-term emergency or natural disaster. I know as Hurricane Dorian is unfortunately touching down and causing a disaster, the Red Cross will be there, lending a helping hand and living out their mission.

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