By Joseph P. Cirone
Hundreds of American Red Cross trained volunteers have concluded their work in the Nation’s Capital, supporting local, state and federal emergency services and military personnel during the 58th Presidential Inauguration.
More than 250 volunteers from Red Cross chapters in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Delaware worked long hours, helping ensure safety during the inaugural events. The volunteers and other Red Cross personnel partnered with local, state and federal Emergency Medical Services, Law Enforcement, Fire, Search and Rescue, National Guard, active and reserve Military and Emergency Management personnel, throughout the National Capital Region, during the planning and operational phases of the inauguration and the Woman’s March on Washington.
During the inaugural events on Thursday and Friday, more than 20 Red Cross “Go Teams” walked among the crowds at the National Mall, Lincoln Memorial and the parade route, serving as the eyes and ears for the Red Cross emergency service agency partners, to help monitor the health and safety of the public and connect them in an appropriate manner during an emergency.
Go Teams located and communicated with U.S. Secret Service, other law enforcement agency personnel and medical aid tent stations, staffed by first responders; U.S. Public Health Service; National Disaster Medical Service and military personnel, regarding the need for emergency medical or law enforcement assistance.
While first responders deployed, Go Teams marked the precise location, using special flags that rose above the crowd to guide the first responders to the ill and injured, saving precious time during the emergency.
Red Cross volunteers also provided information to the public, who requested assistance locating emergency medical aid stations, public transit and other event related information.
Additionally, they provided food and beverages for first responders at designated locations in the District and in Virginia; supported operations at Family Reunification and Warming Centers and performed liaison and coordination duties at local and federal Emergency Operations Centers. Other Red Cross personnel were responsible for internal coordination, planning, logistical and support services, helping to ensure Red Cross operational success.
As part of the planning for the inaugural events, which were designated as a National Security Special Event by the U.S. Secret Service, the Red Cross participated in the development of emergency consequence management plans and had hundreds more Red Cross trained volunteers and a number of emergency shelters.