From left: DRI Foundation Chair AnneMarie Staley, Curtis Eckman, and another representative of the American Red Cross of Central and Southwest Texas.
During DRI2015 in San Antonio, Texas, the DRI Foundation presented the American Red Cross Serving Central and Southwest Texas with a donation of $6,915 to help the local community where it is needed most. The initiative established another way that the Foundation will impact the communities in which the annual DRI International conference is held. Disaster Program Manager Curtis Eckman of the Red Cross received the donation on behalf of the Red Cross and explained to the DRI Foundation how our contribution will help build community resilience in San Antonio, Texas.
DRI Foundation: How did the American Red Cross of Central and Southwest Texas become involved with DRI/ DRI Foundation?
Curtis Eckman: The DRI Foundation seeks to help build resilient communities worldwide, much like the American Red Cross. We look to help these communities during all phases of emergency management. We hope to make communities more resilient so when a disaster strikes the scope has been mitigated. When a disaster strikes we are there for the community helping them and working towards recovery.
DRIF: What initiatives of the American Red Cross of Central Texas will the DRI foundation donation benefit?CE: DRI helped us in two ways, first in providing a space to talk with the industry leaders at the conference in San Antonio, an in-kind donation valued at $4,915. This allowed us to connect with so many organizations from across the world to help spread the word about tools businesses have access too, to help their community. The second was the monetary donation of $2,000 which help our communities where it’s needed the most. Donations are used to help during all phases of a disaster from community outreach and education to helping families and communities recover after a disaster.
Photo courtesy Jeffery Biggs/American Red Cross
DRIF: How will this initiative help educate/benefit Central Texas communities?
CE: Like the DRI Foundation, we aim to create resilient communities and help them prepare. We have a number of tools and outreach events that help communities. Websites like BRCR.org, which has tools for families to create emergency plans, to READYRATING.org, which has tools for organizations like businesses and schools to create a plan and understand how prepared they really are. We also have community outreach initiatives such as the Pillowcase Project which teaches children how to prepare, to our Fire Preparedness Campaign that is aimed at installing fire alarms in homes.
DRIF: Why is promoting a culture of disaster preparedness important to the central Texas community?
CE: Texas has more disasters than any other state. Disasters don’t just happen once in a lifetime – they happen far more often than that. Our culture needs to be one that is prepared for all types of disasters, because there will be a day that you’ll have to evacuate your home to burn or flood.
Photo courtesy of American Red Cross/Peter Teahen
DRIF: Can you tell us about your community’s volunteer contributions to disaster preparedness?
CE: Over the last few months our volunteers have installed hundreds of smoke alarms. They have done many outreach events like talking to students or helping businesses understand what an emergency plan is. Our volunteers are consistently helping prepare communities and are doing an amazing job of it.
DRIF: What’s one thing most people don’t understand about the role of disaster risk reduction and preparedness?
CE: People don’t understand the odds. As disasters don’t happen every day, people only think about it when it does happen. The odds are it will happen to everyone at least once. Knowing that one day, without warning, you will need a plan and have a kit and if you didn’t prepare, an already-difficult time is going to be that much harder.
Photo courtesy of American Red Cross/Dennis Drenner
DRIF: How can other industry professionals play a role in building resilient communities?
CE: We all need to do our part to educate our community. Volunteer at your church or children’s school and offer to help build a plan. For professionals like us this is a very simple task that won’t take long. Join the Red Cross now, so that when a disaster does strike you can be there for your community.
Do you support our vision of building resilient communities worldwide? To donate to the DRI Foundation, please visit our Donate page or start a Crowdrise campaign at crowdrise.com/drifoundation. Join the conversation using #DRIFoundation.