The Red Cross Role In Inauguration Events

Did you know that the American Red Cross has been supporting presidential inaugurations since 1909?

This year is no exception; the District of Columbia has again requested the help of the Red Cross as the inauguration approaches.

As you know, the Red Cross has a long history of accepting requests from public safety officials to assist at large gatherings of people. The first responsibility is to support the local, state and federal authorities that are planning and coordinating the inaugural events. The National Capital Area Chapter (and many surrounding chapters) will be leading the efforts by providing meals, snacks, and drinks to law enforcement and first responders during the inauguration. More than 300 Red Cross workers will be on hand to help with these efforts.

The Chapter is also deploying multiple “Go Teams” to provide assistance to the hundreds of thousand of visitors expected on the National Mall. These teams, trained in CPR and first aid, will be the “eyes and ears” of first responders. They will move through the crowd, ready to identify those who are sick, injured or beginning to suffer from the cold. They can also direct people to aid stations and help with lost children.

Finally, we’ve been in close coordination with local, state and federal authorities as the response community plans for the inauguration. Red Cross national headquarters (also located in D.C.) has a Level V disaster operations team prepared to respond to any man-made emergencies or natural disasters that may occur during the inauguration.

If you’re one of the lucky ones who gets to attend on January 20, try to snap a pic for us if you spot a Red Crosser!


  • As a Red Cross volunteer who lives in the DC Metropolitan area, I have a comment about the posted article. This comment is outside of my typical comments to the blog, because it is serious.

    The National Capital Chapter did not plan and coordinate this activity on their own. They were an instrumental part of the planning, and filled a number of leadership positions, but other team positions as well as direct service jobs were filled by active volunteers from surrounding chapters including Arlington, Alexandria, Prince William and Loudoun County.

    It would have been far more appropriate for the article to use the phrase, “National Capital Region”, as opposed to the National Capital Chapter.

    The chapters often work together to plan events, and it would be nice if the region itself was recognized instead of just a specific chapter.

  • Magi, thanks so much for your comments. It’s so important to be able to thank everyone who’s had a hand in these preparations and I apologize for any oversight!

    I did want to mention, however, that I took my comments straight from an e-mail by way of Charade Jackson, Senior Associate, Partner Services at NHQ.

    It’s no excuse, but it looks like the unintentional oversight comes straight from the top. Sorry about perpetuating the incorrect info!

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