A Brief Introduction

Welcome to the American Red Cross Oregon Trail Chapter Blog. Wow, that’s a long name! Hm…from now on let’s just refer to it as OTC, or maybe the Oregon Trail Chapter. Ah, that’s much easier.

Okay, now that we got that out of the way, let’s get on with the introduction…

The Oregon Trail Chapter is your local American Red Cross chapter located in Portland. We offer lifesaving skills trainings like CPR, First Aid, AED (Automatic External Defibrillator), life guarding, and babysitter training to name a few. We respond to local house fires (every 40 hours on average!) and other disasters. We provide an on-demand transportation service in Multnomah and Washington counties for folks who can’t get around on their own, like the elderly or disabled. We provide communication between military service members abroad and their loved ones at home. And actually we serve much more than just Portland. Our service area covers seven counties!

How do we do all that? Volunteers.
OTC has just over 50 employees, but over 1,200 volunteers. Yes, that means for every one employee there are over 20 volunteers!

And since we’re listing stats, here are a few more for you.
Last year (fiscal year 2006) we:

  • Served over 112,299 people.
  • Trained 34,324 people in the use of lifesaving skills
  • Provided 38,821 rides to elderly and disabled people.
  • Responded to 211 local disasters, both small and large, helping over 944 families.
  • Sent 282 of our Red Crossers to disasters across the nation.
  • Gave 8,100 disaster preparedness education presentations to both kids and adults.

Okay, so all those stats may seem a bit overwhelming or confusing, so let me paint a picture of what we do:

As many of you know, the Morningstar Baptist Church caught on fire back in February. It was a big fire, and a big loss in the hearts of its members. After the firefighters, the first people on the scene were OTC volunteers. They provided food and water for the exhausted workers, and mental health counseling for those who needed to talk to someone about the loss. And they stayed there in the days that followed to make sure everyone had what they needed.

But the OTC doesn’t just respond to large disasters. Had it been a house fire (one of those that happens every 40 hours on average!), the Red Cross would have been there providing those exact same services, and offering things like hotel vouchers, fresh clothes, and toiletries to the family who lost their home.

So that’s a brief glimpse at what OTC does. I hope you’ll keep checking back here for updates, because now that we got the introduction out of the way, I can actually start updating you on current happenings at The Chapter.

So long for now,