Frequently Asked Questions about the Red Cross

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People have many quesitons about the Red Cross. In this post, and the next, we hope to cover some of them.

Common Questions often asked:

How can the Red Cross help me?

The Red Cross is committed to saving lives and easing suffering. This diverse organization helps you by providing relief to victims of disaster, both locally and globally. The Red Cross is responsible for half of the nation’s blood supply and blood products.

The Red Cross gives health and safety training to the public and provides emergency social services to U.S. military members and their families. In the wake of an earthquake, tornado, flood, fire, hurricane or other disaster, it provides relief services to communities across the country.

The Red Cross is America’s most trusted charity, and it needs the support of compassionate Americans to succeed.

Who founded the Red Cross?

The Red Cross has a long and unique history spanning back more than a century and a half.

The Red Cross idea was born in 1859, when Henry Dunant, a young Swiss man, came upon the scene of a bloody battle in Solferino, Italy, between the armies of imperial Austria and the Franco-Sardinian alliance. Some 40,000 men lay dead or dying on the battlefield and the wounded were lacking medical attention.

Dunant organized local people to bind the soldiers’ wounds and to feed and comfort them. On his return, he called for the creation of national relief societies to assist those wounded in war, and pointed the way to the future Geneva Conventions.

In October 1863, The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement was created in Geneva, Switzerland, to provide nonpartisan care to the wounded and sick in times of war. The Red Cross emblem was adopted at this first International Conference as a symbol of neutrality and was to be used by national relief societies.

In August 1864, the representatives of 12 governments signed the Geneva Convention Treaty. The extraordinary efforts of Henry Dunant led to the eventual establishment of the International Red Cross.

Today, the Red Cross Movement incorporates the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (the International Federation), as well as National Societies in 175 countries, including the American Red Cross of the United States.

What is the Mission of the American Red Cross?

The American Red Cross Prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and generosity of donors.

Stay tuned for our post next week for answers to more common questions.

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