By Jennifer Astion
This summer, the Greater Inland Northwest Chapter of the Red Cross will be reaching out to the community with a new Emergency Response Vehicle built specifically for disaster relief missions. Thanks to the generous support of individual donations and a $50,000 gift from BNSF Railway, the chapter will use the new vehicle primarily to bring food, water, and supplies to disaster sites.
The Red Cross received the vehicle In July 2021. Volunteers will participate in online training and will need to pass driving tests before they will be certified to drive the new vehicle.
“The fire season has so far been very busy,” said Ryan Rodin, Executive Director of the Greater Inland Northwest Chapter. “There have been more than 20 named fires in our chapter which encompasses 15 counties. We have had to open shelters. We also have responded to a record number of home fires and apartment fires,” he continued.
“In a large apartment fire, we would bring the Emergency Response Vehicle to provide food and water to residents and firefighters,” Rodin explained. “It has a seat in the back that swivels in front of a window that can be opened up to serve food and drinks to folks outside.”
“In a large apartment fire, we would bring the Emergency Response Vehicle to provide food and water to residents and firefighters.”
The Emergency Response Vehicle also helps the Red Cross with community outreach. “We use it at community events and parades,” explained Rodin. In the fall it will be featured in a “Touch a Truck” event where children will be able to safely explore the vehicle and learn about the Red Cross.
The Red Cross is grateful to BNSF Railway, which was instrumental in providing the final funding needed in 2019 to secure this critical piece of equipment.
“BNSF is proud to support the American Red Cross with the purchase of this new Emergency Response Vehicle that will serve the Pacific Northwest,” noted Lena Kent, Executive Director Public Affairs. “We are committed to supporting organizations that help those in need in the communities in which we operate. And this continues our longtime partnership with the American Red Cross, which has spanned more than 15 years.”