By Carol Grinage, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross North Texas Region
Since 2011 the United Nations recognizes February 13th as World Radio Day. The radio is seen as a humanity bridging tool, bringing diversity of music, sound, information and experiences to listeners around the world. Radios have been instrumental in communicating emergency instructions or communications.
The American Red Cross has a history of supporting the Armed Forces through emergency communications by relaying messages from service members to family members stateside.
“Emergency communications is two-sided: civilians (family members) and military,” says Christopher Bankhead, retired USMC and senior disaster program manager for the American Red Cross North Texas Region.
He continues, “The Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) team follows this through from stateside through military channels to verify the information provided by the civilians.”
Similarly, “SAF emergency communications relays information to the families to provide them with some comfort of knowing that they are working to get the communication over to their service member,” explains Bankhead.
This history of service can trace it roots from the Spanish-American war to current conflicts in other parts of the world. The Red Cross has assisted service members and their families in the past and continues to work on their behalf.
“Emergency communications through the Red Cross has been used to bring military members news filled with the greatest joys and ones of terrible sorrow,” said Katrina Gonzalez, Service to the Armed Forces Program Director for the American Red Cross North Texas Region. “This service provides military families peace-of-mind knowing if something happens back home, the American Red Cross will have the resources to contact the deployed soldiers and if necessary, help make arrangements to secure safe travel back home.”
If you need to contact a service member, the American Red Cross Hero Care Center is available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with two options for requesting assistance: online and by phone.
To speak to a Red Cross Emergency Communications Specialist call: 1-877-272-7337, or go to Red Cross Emergency Communications.