March serves as American Red Cross Month - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

March serves as American Red Cross Month

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WATERLOO (KWWL) - The American Red Cross works to strengthen its forces this month, as March has been dedicated to the cause for more than 60 years.

At least 90 percent of the Red Cross is made up of volunteers, so that's one area for which the organization is recruiting. Regional Communications Officer Kara Kelly said they hope to add members to the Disaster Action Team, as the Red Cross deploys both locally and nationally.

Single-family house fires are the number one type of disasters to which volunteers respond. In fiscal year 2013, the red Cross assisted a total of 2,219 people in the state of Iowa. Linn County had the third highest number of fire responses in the state with more than 40 cases. Black Hawk County trailed behind with 35.

Red Cross officers said now is the time to start planning ahead for spring and summer, as the change in seasons will bring new weather crises.

"Certainly flooding and tornadoes and spring weather, the spring storm season is right around the corner so we want to make sure the disaster service is ready to go," Kelly said.

She said the spring brings the longer-lasting disasters, with flooding being one of them. Evacuation time for such a crisis is only five to seven minutes, so families need to start making "what-if" plans now.

The Red Cross seeks donations of all sorts - monetary, volunteer time and blood donations. At least 50 blood drives will take place in March within 50 miles of Waterloo. A list of those locations as well as other opportunities with the American Red Cross can be found at www.redcross.org/ia.
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