June 5, 2015

Who you gonna call?

In times of trouble? If you are a military family the age old answer is to call the American Red Cross. For over a hundred years they have been tasked with the duty of notifying military personnel and even more importantly verifying that emergency exists to get our loved ones home. Now they are paid to provide that service. It is one that we hope we never need to use and we count on it to work every time we pick up the phone.

Last month my youngest son was out of contact when my mom was dying and we had to use the service. It was a time of grief and stress for our family and we were missing him terribly. The idea that we could not reach him would have put us all over the edge in an already trying time. So when I got a message last Saturday night that a family was having trouble reaching the Red Cross  I thought this will be easy. It must be a fluke-that system is too important to ever go down.

After an hour of trying national and local numbers and posting on the American Red Cross Facebook wall I received a reply that the number was down and to call back later. I politely asked if there was an alternate number and if it could be posted. Nine hours later I finally received a reply that the number was up now and please try again. There were other families with emergencies receiving the same responses.

This momma was not happy. A bunch of military mommas including those from HH6CamoChix and MilitaryMamaNetwork were not happy. We began on Monday trying to reach the Red Cross to express our concerns that such an important lifeline was down. We got nowhere. So we took it up a notch or two. You see we will do anything we can to protect our children and maintaining an emergency connection with no interruptions is right up there as mission critical in our eyes.  Finally people started to listen. The upshot? Let me just let this link from the Military Times tell the rest of the story:

Red Cross begins to address hotline problems

Bottom line an alternate number will be shown on Facebook and Website in the event of another outage, and local chapters will be trained in how to reach help.. There are more steps being taken to insure you never get a dead line when you need help. There is just too much at stake.

If you need help the emergency line is now up and working.

Red Cross Emergency Communication Systems



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