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Southwest Airlines Community

Responding to Disaster

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The American Red Cross responds to a disaster every nine minutes somewhere in the country. This could be a tornado, house, or apartment fire or any of the other natural disasters that occur in our 50 states. The Red Cross’ workforce is 97 percent volunteers and only 3 percent staff! That is amazing if you think that in 2011 the Red Cross opened more than 1,000 shelters, provided more than six million meals to people affected by disasters, provided 2.6 million relief items, which includes comfort kits, clothing, diapers, etc., and had more than 27,000 disaster volunteers on the ground or at the curb after a house fire assisting families in their time of need.

It is amazing once you see those statistics and to know that on average a Red Cross Chapter responds to three to four house or apartment fires a day. One way you can help empower your family, friends, your community, and, most importantly, you be prepared in case of an emergency is to learn the simple steps to actually be prepared for a disaster. This could mean that you would have to shelter in your house during a tornado or evacuate for a fire or hurricane. To learn how to build an emergency kit, have a plan and be prepared please log onto to become Red Cross Ready.

Volunteers are always needed at the Red Cross to give their time, experience, and skills to help those affected by disasters and to help people prepare for an emergency situation. We rely on volunteers every day to teach the community First Aid and CPR skills, to train lifeguards, and teach children how to swim. We also rely on volunteers to help the members of the Armed Forces. Through our Service to the Armed Forces program, we help connect members of the military that are deployed receive emergency messages from their loved ones. These messages could include the birth of a child or the death of a loved one. There are so many ways to serve, whether it is “in the field” at a disaster or in an office supporting the Red Cross. The opportunities are endless and the need is great!

Please take the first steps to becoming a volunteer with the American Red Cross and help others. To become a volunteer please follow these easy steps:

  1. Visit
  2. Click on the Volunteer Tab—then click on Volunteer Application.
  3. Choose the city that is nearest you.
  4. Complete the online volunteer application.
  5. Shortly after, you will be contacted from an American Red Cross representative who will discuss your next steps.

Southwest is a proud sponsor of the American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and, through our sponsorship, we support disaster relief preparation and help deploy staff and volunteers to disaster sites.  ADGP members are corporate partners that build a reliable funding base for disaster relief services so that resources are there when needed.