Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018 | 2 a.m.
Alan Diskin, American Red Cross, Southern Nevada chapter
• Title: Executive Director
• Agency address: 1771 E. Flamingo Road, Suite 206B, 89119
• Agency phone number: 702-791-3311
• Agency website: RedCross.org/Nevada
• Hours of operation: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
What does your organization do? The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission, which is to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.
When and why was it established? Clara Barton and a circle of her acquaintances founded the American Red Cross in 1881. Barton first heard of the Swiss-inspired global Red Cross network while visiting Europe after the Civil War. Returning home, she campaigned for an American Red Cross and for ratification of the Geneva Convention protecting the war-injured, which the United States ratified in 1882.
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In Nevada, the Red Cross was founded in June of 1917 to provide support and relief to soldiers of World War I and their families.
The Red Cross has five areas of service:
• Blood: The American Red Cross provides 40 percent of the American blood supply, and in Las Vegas to 10 of the region’s 14 hospitals.
• Disaster relief: We respond day and night to members of our community affected by disasters, such as home fires, floods and other disasters and casualty incidents.
• Military and military families: We support active duty and retired members of the military.
• Training: We provide safety and lifesaving training.
• International service: We work through the international network of Red Cross organizations to alleviate victims of disasters.
What are its current initiatives or goals? In Southern Nevada, we are focused on ensuring the integrity and adequacy of the blood supply, as well as ensuring resiliency of the community through emergency and disaster preparedness and readiness.
What services might the community not know about? What you might not know is that the Red Cross, from a disaster standpoint, provides prevention, response and recovery at the local level daily.
To help in the prevention of disasters, particularly home fires, we canvas neighborhoods that have a higher incidence of fires, and work with families to teach them fire safety, evacuation planning, and install smoke alarms should they not have any (or replace batteries if they have alarms). We do that for free. From a response standpoint, Red Cross responds to home fires and other disasters on a daily basis. In Southern Nevada, we respond to a home fire every 18 hours, and for an affected family, that is their Hurricane Harvey.
When it comes to recovery, we assist families post-disaster by providing case management as wells as emergency support for shelter and food.
We help deployed members of the military when a family situation occurs. We provide casework to members of the military and their families, and help them transition to civilian life.
What can people do to get involved in the cause you serve? First, they can learn to stay safe by preparing for emergencies before they happen at redcross.org.
They can go to our website and sign up to volunteer to help when disaster strikes. More than 90 percent of the work Red Cross does is done by volunteers.
Third, they can donate blood and/or make a financial contribution to help us continue our mission to help those who are facing the results of disasters.
This story originally appeared in the Las Vegas Weekly.