Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs About the American Red Cross

Many people want to know specifics about the Red Cross, and some who want to join have questions they need answered before they commit themselves. I have tried to list some of the questions that are asked most often, but I am sure there are many more that I haven’t even considered!


My family has been displaced because of a disaster. What can we bring with us to the Red Cross shelter?


Bring all medications your family members are taking, if possible. Extra clothing, pillows, blankets, and personal hygiene items. Try to have all your important papers and documents with you. If you have children or babies try to have a supply or diapers, bottles, and formula, as well as a few toys or comfort items for them.


What kind of help does the Red Cross offer to victims of a disaster?


The Red Cross strives to provide food, shelter and necessary medical care to anyone in need, as well as emotional support to those who need it.


I am thinking about becoming a Red Cross volunteer-do I have to commit to a specific amount of time?


The amount of time you need to commit to will depend on what type of volunteering you do, and the area you live in. The greatest need is usually on weekdays, but you can also volunteer on week nights or weekends. Sometimes it is only a few hours each week, or a day or two a month.


What kinds of jobs are available with the Red Cross?


The Red Cross employs people from various fields. Biomedical specialists, nurses, doctors, nursing assistants, specialists in health and safety, and many more. You can check for what is currently available on their website.


Can I volunteer outside the US?


Yes, you can, but before doing so you must go through rigorous and extensive disaster training.


Where can I sign up to volunteer?


There are chapters of the Red Cross in just about any town or city, and hundreds all across the US. The main headquarters are located in Washington, DC.


If I volunteer to assist in a disaster stricken area, what would I be doing?


You would do whatever needed to be done at that time. You would help locate and reunite family members, clear away debris and rubble, assist with bringing families to safe shelters, offer emotional support, and just about anything you can think of. You will be asked to help out in any way you can.


How can I volunteer in my own community? What is there I can do?


Well, you can offer to donate blood, or host a blood drive in your town. You can also hold a fundraiser to bring in donations, teach a safety class, and much more. Ask at your local chapter what you can do to help.


Don’t hesitate to step up and offer your services to the Red Cross society. You may not be a doctor or a nurse, but these are not the only people who volunteer! Everyone is good at something, or has knowledge that would be valued by the chapter. Perhaps you are good at working with your hands and can help rebuild a home that was destroyed by fire. You may be an internet expert who can spread the word throughout social media that the Red Cross needs people to volunteer, or you can also set up a website that has a place where people can donate. There are hundreds of things you can do-but you have to volunteer first!