Story and Photos by Angelina DiBacco, American Red Cross
On Thursday May 31, 2018, the American Red Cross Rhode Island revealed its new Emergency Response Vehicle in Providence, Rhode Island, just in time for the start of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season. The new response vehicle sat “Red Cross Ready” alongside the Seekonk River in Providence. Volunteers gathered around the vehicle, anticipating the ribbon cutting ceremony. The modular vehicle is ergonomically designed for Red Cross workers delivering services, like feeding and providing disaster supplies. “I hate to be the barer of bad news, but the 2018 Hurricane Season begins tomorrow and unfortunately it is predicated to be just as active, if not more active than last year’s devastating season,” said Neil Brockway, Regional Disaster Officer, American Red Cross Connecticut and Rhode Island Region
Last year, the Red Cross in Rhode Island deployed all of their response vehicles to support Red Cross relief efforts as our country was hit was with the back-to-back-to back hurricanes that left devastation in their wake. Rhode Islanders hopped in older versions of these vehicles and drove to disaster impacted areas to help people they have never met before. This new emergency response vehicle is ready to be deployed here at home in Rhode Island and across the country to bring help and hope to those who may be impacted by disasters.
Brockway said, “We can all hope together that all those hurricanes will stay out to sea and not hit any land, but hope is not a plan! Now is the time to prepare and that’s exactly what the Red Cross is doing.” In June, the Red Cross hosted their annual Disaster Institute, providing new and important training to all current volunteers, so they are prepared to take on this upcoming hurricane season.
Susan Roberts, Executive Director, American Red Cross Rhode Island, shared appreciation for the organizations who brought this new emergency response vehicle to Rhode Island, “We are incredibly grateful to the Champlin Foundation and the Horace A. Kimball and S. Ella Kimball Foundation. Your generous support has helped us to bring this brand-new vehicle to Rhode Island and will help us be prepared to respond to disasters across the street and across the country.”
The Red Cross encourages everyone to prepare now for hurricane season, download the free Red Cross Emergency App. The App will let you know of any approaching severe weather in your area, provide tips for what you should do before, during and after any type of disaster, and where Red Cross shelters are located and open, in the event you are faced with an evacuation.
In addition to preparing yourself and your family, you can also help to prepare your community and help respond to disasters. The Red Cross provides critical relief to affected families and communities, including nourishing meals, supplies, safe shelter, basic health services and emotional support. The Red Cross is always looking for more volunteers to help join the mission. To volunteer visit redcross.org/volunteer.