2022 a year of crisis for Red Cross

Nov. 23—ATLANTA — The rapidly evaporating year of 2022 has been a year of crisis for families in Georgia and around the world — from extreme climate disasters like Hurricane Ian to the first-ever national American Red Cross blood crisis.

"Whether a crisis is felt by an entire community or a single person, it turns lives upside down — especially for the most vulnerable," Deirdre "Dee" Dixon, regional chief executive officer at the American Red Cross of Georgia, said. "This holiday season, join us to provide help and hope for people in need during future emergencies by making a financial donation or by giving blood or platelets."

On Giving Tuesday and during the holidays, visit redcross.org to make a financial donation or an appointment to give blood or platelets to patients in the U.S. Individuals also can register for volunteer opportunities in their area.

This year's extreme disasters in the U.S. are clear examples of the increasing frequency and intensity of the climate crisis. So far in 2022, 15 billion-dollar disasters have upended lives across the country — more than twice the number of billion-dollar disasters that struck annually two decades ago.

For these and tens of thousands of other disasters in Georgia and across the country, Red Cross volunteers have worked 24/7 to provide shelter, food, and care — including for disasters like Hurricane Ian.

In Georgia, Red Cross volunteers also have provided relief and comfort after home fires and other local disasters. The Red Cross responds to more than 60,000 disasters every year, and the majority are home fires. For this reason, the American Red Cross launched the nationwide Home Fire Campaign in 2014 which aims to reduce home fire deaths and injuries by 25%.

Since October 2014, the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, with community partners, has saved at least 1,414 lives — including 235 in Georgia — by educating families about fire safety, helping them create escape plans, and installing free smoke alarms in high-risk areas across the country. To learn more about the campaign and how to get involved, visit redcross.org/homefires.

Internationally, the conflict in Ukraine has forced millions of people to flee for their lives. With such vast needs, the American Red Cross has provided financial donations and international crisis responders to support the global Red Cross network's response on the ground, which spans more than a dozen neighboring countries to deliver food, shelter, medical care, emotional support and other critical aid for displaced families.

Meanwhile, the American Red Cross has also provided financial support to the ongoing hunger crisis in Africa. Overall, this year, as part of the world's largest humanitarian network, the American Red Cross provided humanitarian aid in more than 108 countries. Here in Georgia, Red Cross international efforts included 7,779 Service to the Armed Forces Emergency Cases and 97 International Humanitarian Law participants.

In Georgia, Red Cross workers have helped people through personal emergencies, too, including training people to provide CPR at the community swimming pool. In 2022, more than 60,000 people have been trained in First Aid/CPR/AED and water safety in Georgia.

In January 2022, the Red Cross experienced its worst national blood shortage in more than a decade due to ongoing collection challenges and varied hospital demand during the pandemic. Patients in need of lifesaving blood transfusions relied on an outpouring of support from hundreds of thousands of generous blood donors to overcome the crisis.

Beyond national headlines, the need for blood is constant. One in seven patients entering a hospital will need a blood transfusion. As seasonal illness and the threat of winter weather ramp up this holiday season, make a donation appointment and be a lifeline for car accident victims, parents with complicated childbirths, individuals battling cancer and people with sickle cell disease.

Give thanks and give back — now is the time to make and keep blood and platelet donation appointments. Book a time to give at RedCrossBlood.org. As a thank-you, all those that come to give Nov. 23-27 will get an exclusive Red Cross beanie, while supplies last. Thanks to our partners at Amazon, all donors who come to give blood Nov. 28-Dec. 15 will receive a $10 gift card by email.