DomesticPreparedness met with Joseph Becker, Senior Vice President of Disaster Services, American Red Cross to discuss the American Red Cross (ARC) concept of operations for disaster preparedness and response under the new National Response Framework, Red Cross support activities in line with ESF 6 (mass care, emergency assistance, housing, and human services) and ESF 8 (public health and medical services), and take-aways from this year’s National Preparedness Month.
Organizing for Red Cross Support During a Disaster
The local-chapter and national Red Cross response to any disaster within a two-hour time frame via the disaster action team; linkages with the Medical Response Corps and other volunteer partners; the Red Cross presence at the state, regional, and federal levels.
The Red Cross and Sheltering
Red Cross work in building a national shelter data system; the ARC focus on local solutions to sheltering; the concept of “congregate shelters”; ongoing work on locally driven pet-sheltering solutions.
Red Cross Support Beyond Sheltering
Working food distribution through shelters, fixed sites, and mobile routes. Partnerships with non-disaster organizations for emergency relief. Facilitating communication of needs and availability – e.g., with regard to blood and blood products. Volunteer management. The ARC’s capability to assist with emergency first aid and mental health counseling.
Lessons Learned from the Katrina, Rita, and Wilma Responses
The need to improve disaster-response IT systems and supply chains through community and corporate partnerships. The ARC’s improved baseline capacity to shelter and feed 500,000 people for six days.
National Preparedness Month
The Red Cross adoption of the three-point program through which every family should have a survival kit, a survival plan, and the means to keep informed. The recognition that schools and employers are the two key leverage points to persuade families to implement a preparedness program. The ARC’s ongoing regional gap analyses on capabilities for handling worst-case scenarios.
Joseph C. Becker
Joseph C. Becker is the Senior Vice President of Disaster Services for the American Red Cross (ARC), and in that post led the organization's relief efforts during the 2004 hurricanes in Florida and in the Hurricane Katrina response along the Gulf Coast. Prior to fleeting up to his current position he served as the ARC's vice president of response, a position he assumed after seven years service as executive director of the Greater Carolinas Chapter of the American Red Cross. He previously served, for 23 years, as a member of the management group of Kings Entertainment Company. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, he holds a degree in business administration from Miami University in Athens, Ohio.