Thursday, June 2, 2011

Red Cross Messages Made Easy

I just saw a friend post a link to this on Facebook. I thought I would share it here too. We have unfortunately had to send two Red Cross messages to Joe while he's been in the Army, once while stationed in Germany and once while he was in Iraq. It wasnt terribly difficult to get an emergency message to him then, but it's nice to hear that they are making it easier for families to get the messages to their loved ones.

Sending a Red Cross emergency message is about to get a hundred times easier with the introduction of a single, toll free message number June 13, the nonprofit announced last week.

In the past families living off base needing to send an emergency message had to hunt down contact info for their local Red Cross chapter and request a message through them – a process that could be very frustrating. Let’s be honest – no one wants to chase local contacts when dealing with something that warrants an emergency message. There are just better things to think about.

Now, the introduction of a single number for use by everyone, everywhere will allow military families across the country to easily file away the contact and never update it again no matter where they get stationed. Glory be!

Red Cross emergency messages are used by military families to get a message to a deployed servicemember under specific circumstances, such as the serious illness or death of a direct family member or the birth of a child. They can also be used to get stateside servicemembers emergency leave.

As someone who has been in the scrambling-for-Red-Cross-emergency-know-how position before, I cannot emphasize enough how much easier a single contact will make this process. My husband’s mother was in a very serious car accident in Ohio over our Christmas leave several years ago. Although we were based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, we were spending the holiday in Boise, Idaho. We needed to get an emergency message sent to our unit so that my husband could extend his leave and fly to be with his mother. But on Christmas Eve, which of the three Red Cross locations do you call – Idaho, Washington or Ohio? And how do you find a number for one with someone who will answer the phone on a holiday?

A universal contact is the perfect solution to such quandaries. It will also help units get families ready for deployment because it provides a clear, one option path in emergencies, instead of creating a confusing problem.

The number is: 877-272-7337. Write it down and put it somewhere safe, spouses!


The link: Red Cross Messages Made Easy SpouseBUZZ.com

5 comments:

Megan said...

Hopefully this means they open more call centers, as presently that number only has 2 call centers that must help all branches of the military and DoD civilians. I was calling the number they listed this week to get emergency leave for my husband, as my father is ill (but is now improving), and was on hold for an hour. It was crazy! It took me complaining on Twitter to actually get a hold of a person that day.

Samantha the ArmyWife said...

I didn't have any problem when I had to send Kevin a message. Nevertheless, I feel like one number would be a much better option! Thanks for sharing.

Sara said...

That's horrible Megan! Hopefully they have the kinks worked out so it can run smoother from now on. That's just a horrible thing to have to do when you're trying to get a message to your husband. Thanks for sharing that with us.

maciasp said...

Hi Sara - I'm Peter and I work for the American Red Cross in their Service to the Armed Forces division.

First, thank you so much to you and Joe for your dedication and service to our country. Military families are truly special.

Next, a "big thank you" for sharing the instructions for accessing Red Cross Emergency Communication services on your blog. We are working hard to make things easy and efficent for military families.

Megan - I am so sorry you had an unpleasent experience with the Red Cross call system. In the future, if you or anyone you know has trouble please let me know and I'll help the best I can. (maciasp@usa.redcross.org)

Thanks to everyone.

Sara said...

Hi Peter. Thanks for leaving a comment. And thank you for the offer to help us out!