News Stories

American Red Cross Pushes Hurricane Preparedness, Blood Donations During Annual Expo

Published July 18, 2018

“Preparedness is not just a personal responsibility, it is also a civic responsibility as the better prepared that people are for hurricane season and other disasters, the less reliant they will be on first responders and municipalities to deliver critical services for them.”

   That was the message stressed by American Red Cross officials during the annual Cape Fear Preparedness & Safety Expo held at the Coastline Convention Center in downtown Wilmington on May 19. 

   Jim Jarvis, the Executive Director of the American Red Cross in Wilmington, encourages the public to be as proactive as possible by building an emergency preparedness kit, making an emergency plan, and staying informed via local and regional media.  And with a steady increase of people who are now calling Wilmington and southeastern North Carolina home, Jarvis said that newcomers need to educate themselves with help from the Red Cross and other agencies to be vigilant during hurricane season.

   “Hurricanes, unlike other kinds of disasters, are advanced-notice events,” Jarvis said. “The most important thing that new residents can do is to pay close attention to the advice and recommendations provided to them by their local emergency management team.  Specifically, if your municipality or county issues a mandatory evacuation order ahead of the arrival of a major hurricane, heed that direction and evacuate.  Secondly, understand that most hurricane-related deaths and injuries do not occur before or during landfall, but instead occur after the storm passes from such causes as inland flooding, electrical accidents, falling tree limbs, cardiac events, etc.”

   Jarvis said people can and do become complacent when it comes to hurricanes or even disaster preparedness.  The Red Cross uses a variety of mediums to get the message out about its services and the things that people should do to be prepared for emergencies and/or disasters.

   “Among these are our Emergency Resource Library or robust social media presence on all major platforms and close partnerships with local media outlets to educate the public before, during, and after the storm,” he said.  

   Although the focus of the expo was on hurricane season, the Red Cross takes every opportunity to inform the public about donating blood.  Each year, Wilmington District blood donors average roughly 20-22 donations during the Red Cross blood drives.       

   “Blood and blood products are perishable and lifesaving resources that cannot be recreated or manufactured in a laboratory or substituted for with another product,” he explained.  “Approximately every two seconds in the U.S., someone needs a blood transfusion.  On average, the American Red Cross must secure more than 13,000 blood donations every day to meet the needs of more than 2,600 hospital patients across the country.” 

   If a person has never donated before, but would like to Jarvis said, it’s very easy to get started.

    “We encourage the donors to come to one of our blood donation centers to donate.  We will walk them through the process, help them, and comfort them during their donation, provide them with a snack and beverage afterward, and thank them for potentially saving up to three lives through that one donation!” 

   If potential donors cannot come to the donation center, then they can go to the following link for more information; 

   Enter their zip code to find a mobile blood drive near you to schedule an appointment.