Red Cross office relocating in Preble Co.

Megan Kennedy

January 14, 2014

The only thing changing about the American Red Cross’ presence in Preble County will be its location.

The non-profit Disaster Relief Organization will shift it’s rental location from Barron Street in Eaton to a new location that has not yet been determined by the Dayton Chapter.

The Dayton Chapter of the American Red Cross keeps watch over Preble, Greene, and Montgomery Counties, and has offices in each location.

The organization’s reevaluation for office space is prompted by a retirement within the staffing office, causing for a reconsideration of their budget as well, to better spend their “Red Cross dollars,” according to officials. The organization is currently searching for a well-suited building for their office and has been welcomed by various “community partners” who have offered their office space to the non-profit.

The Red Cross had been located in various locations within Eaton for over a decade, and has no plans to leave the county, the Dayton office reported. The non-profit hopes to know their final destination within a few weeks.

“The Red Cross has evolved over time,” said Executive of the Dayton-area Chapter Laura Seyfang.

“The Red Cross has downsized a number of chapters they had some years ago in trying to be the most cost-effective in using donation dollars as smart as they can.”

Seyfang explained that whether each county has it’s own office, is “dictated by the level of population that’s in that community.”

Seyfang said “the number of disaster response calls you’ve had and the neighboring communities around [Preble County]” is also a factor.

Twenty-four hour coverage is assured in Preble County by the Red Cross’ National Call number. By calling 1-800-red-cross, the call will forward to a Preble County volunteer for an immediate response.

If the call goes unanswered after five minutes, the call is automatically forwarded to a Montgomery County volunteer who is on-call. Volunteers are contacted when a victim is in need of support ranging from emotional support to donating supplies.

Seyfang stated that the Dayton Chapter’s response time to a disaster is an hour, while the national average is approximately two hours.

The non-profit’s commitment is to be in Preble County and supportive by utilizing local volunteers. The Red Cross is looking to increase their response times within Preble County by recruiting those interested in helping. Training will be conducted by working with the EMA and CERT organizations within Eaton.

Defined by their website, the Red Cross’ disaster relief is focused on “meeting people’s immediate emergency needs caused by disaster. When disaster threatens or strikes, the Red Cross provides shelter, food, and health and emotional health service to address basic human needs and assist individuals and families in resuming their normal daily activities independently.”

In Preble County, Seyfang said that the most common responses that have been made are to those who have been affected by house fires, followed by weather-related disasters. Often times the American Red Cross “feeds emergency workers like fire fighters and police, handles inquiries from concerned family members outside the disaster area, provides blood and blood products to disaster victims, and helps them access other available resources.”

To register to become a volunteer, call 1-800-red-cross, an all-purpose number, or those interested are instructed to visit the Red Cross website.

At press time, the new location for the Red Cross had yet to be determined.