The American Red Cross is launching a new app which allows people to sign up to volunteer, get trained and receive notifications about Red Cross volunteer opportunities in their own neighborhoods when disaster hits. The Team Red Cross App will help put volunteers to work quickly when disaster strikes because it puts the power to help right in their hands. The Team Red Cross App can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
Often when a disaster strikes, people in the community want to help but may not know how. That’s what happened when the deadly tornadoes struck Oklahoma in May. Thousands of local residents contacted the Red Cross wanting to lend a hand. This app will help the Red Cross mobilize volunteers when they want to help with a disaster close to home.
“The Team Red Cross App allows the Red Cross to activate individuals who already have basic training to respond during an emergency and who are nearby and know our neighborhoods best,” said Matt Bertram, CEO of the American Red Cross Central-Southeast Ohio Region. “This app can become the go-to place for people who are ready and willing to help on a moment’s notice, but haven’t reached out to us previously.”
First, people create an account. Then they learn about different jobs, such as working in a warehouse, handing out supplies or assisting with feeding. Through lists of simple steps, short videos and quizzes, people can receive quick training—right on their phone. Then, when the Red Cross has a need locally for volunteers for a large scale disaster, users will receive a notification based on their location, to mobilize for a particular task. People can instantly accept or decline the volunteer opportunity.
The app is FREE and designed for iPhone and Android smart phones and tablets. Additional features include:
- Ability for people to share notifications for volunteers with their social network.
- Earn digital “badges” by completing a job test, accepting a job, sharing the app, recruiting volunteers, etc. The “badges” can then be shared with their social network.
- Allows people to donate money to the Red Cross and sign up to donate blood.
- Offers emergency response information that people can share with their friends at the touch of a button.
“The social media component is important because it makes users of The Team Red Cross App social advocates for our mission and it encourages them to talk about their volunteer activities,” said Bertram. “When their social network friends find out about one person’s work they may want to get involved, too. Getting others to volunteer maintains that culture of volunteerism that is so powerful for the Red Cross.” The Team Red Cross App is the seventh in a series of highly successful Red Cross apps, which are now on more than 3 million mobile devices across the country.
More than 400,000 people downloaded the Hurricane App during Superstorm Sandy. Right before and during Sandy, users spent the most time reading the preparedness information, tracking the storm, and reading and then sharing NOAA alerts through social media.