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Red Crossers Educate Families at McWane Science Center’s “First Responders Day”

By: Diane “Vicki” Weber / American Red Cross

    “Does [Red Cross] come when there’s a tornado?” asked 7-year old Elijah, with his arms stretched out of the Emergency Response Vehicle’s feeding window.  “Do you make the food?” Both kids and adults present at McWane Science Center’s “First Responder’s Day” event on Saturday posed some insightful questions and received an inside look of the Next Generation Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs).  

Red Cross volunteers, Marguerite, Rev. Turner, Vicki and Disaster Program Manager, Debbie Looney, were proud to stand alongside Birmingham’s first responders and our community partners. The response vehicle joined fire trucks, ambulances, police cars, and even a mounted police unit as examples of organizations on call to help the community.

“We want to recognize our first responders and their families,” explained event coordinator, Kristen when requesting the Red Cross to be in attendance, “and we want to raise awareness and educate the kids about what the first responders do in our area.” Dedicated volunteers braved the exhausting midday temperatures to share information with dozens of Birmingham area families about how the Red Cross helps families and communities – from blood donations to sheltering and disaster preparedness. This event comes at a perfect time known as National Preparedness Month in which community organizations work together urging residents to make an emergency kit, make a plan and be informed. The American Red Cross prepares all year for disasters and urges everyone to Be Red Cross Ready too.

Emergencies are more common than people may think, and disasters can happen anywhere, anytime — they can even begin in someone’s own home. Every 8 minutes, the Red Cross responds to a disaster, and the vast majority of these are home fires. By having an emergency plan and kit, families can react quickly when a disaster strikes. The Red Cross encourages everyone to take three important action steps to get prepared: build a kit, make a plan and be informed. “I remember seeing the Red Cross at the apartment fire last week,” said an ATF official, and we are reminded that we all work together to help those in need. You can find more tips for getting prepared at

Judging by the smiles on the children’s faces, we think “First Responders Day” was a success and we can’t wait to do it again next year!

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