By Cassylee Mead

Edited by Nancy Waddell

From landslides to pillowcase emergency kits, the American Red Cross serving Snohomish County has been preparing, responding and helping the community recover since Oct. 19, 1916.   

Less than six months after the chapter was founded, the United States was thrust into WWI.  The American Red Cross launched many more chapters around the county, scheduled supply drives and began raising funds to support the U.S. war effort.  Localized efforts played a huge role in Snohomish County’s ability to coordinate the delivery of medical supplies and funds.

More recently the Red Cross serving Snohomish County performed a large-scale response to the Washington landslide event.  When the community was rocked by devastating losses, the Red Cross was there, ready to aid those affected.  The chapter engaged 300 volunteers throughout its response to that event and remains committed to the community’s recovery years later.   In 2016, the Red Cross provided $350,000 to local nonprofit North Counties Family Services, a grant that will provide ongoing support a food bank, counseling services and helped purchase a new building for the agency to enhance its work within the community.

Volunteers make up 98 percent of the chapter and are involved in everything from installing smoke alarms to disaster response, serving military families and more.  Where there is need, volunteers respond.

Home Fires are the number one disaster volunteers respond to in the United States, and is the motivation for the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign.  Launched to reduce the number of home fires in our country, the campaign is already credited for saving 100 lives nationwide.  The goal of the Home Fire Campaign is to reduce deaths and injuries 25 percent by 2020.

In Snohomish County chapter installed 821 smoke alarms last year.  Now, in celebration of 100 years in Snohomish County, the American Red Cross decided to celebrate by spending one week installing an additional 500 smoke alarms throughout the community.

Community Preparedness and Resilience presentations are another way the Red Cross helps community members become more prepared in case of disasters. The Snohomish County chapter is dedicated not only to helping adults prepare for home fires but children as well. The Pillowcase Project is sponsored by Disney and designed for students in 3rd-5th grade. Students receive a pillowcase to decorate and use as a personal emergency supplies kit. All students who participate in The Pillowcase Project learn to stay safe in the event of a home fire and are encouraged to make a home fire escape plan and practice a home fire drill at home. Last year, 289 children learned made emergency kits in Snohomish County.

As the Red Cross serving Snohomish County celebrates this century of service, the chapter looks forward to continuous service as long as there is a need. The chapter would like to thank local partners and volunteers for supporting the chapter and its mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. Volunteers are the heart and soul of the American Red Cross and none of the life-saving humanitarian work we do could be done without them.

For more information on how to become a volunteer please visit:

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