Red Cross unveils disaster preparedness campaign

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The Canadian Red Cross unveiled a major fundraising campaign today to expand its disaster management capabilities in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Packet file photo

The Canadian Red Cross unveiled a major fundraising campaign today to expand its disaster management capabilities in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Hibernia project has committed to providing $600,000 for the campaign, which is almost one-third of the overall campaign goal.

According to a news release, the centerpiece of the $2-million "Prepared" campaign will be construction of a disaster management training centre addition to the Canadian Red Cross office at 17 Major's Path in St. John's. Other elements include boosting the number of trained Red Cross disaster volunteers in the province to 700 from the current 250, a new emergency response vehicle, upgraded telecommunications and two new generators. The Red Cross will expand its storage capacity across the province and its inventory of disaster response supplies such as cots, blankets and other items sufficient to serve up to 800 people at a time.

"We need to be ready to respond to severe weather-related emergencies such as the ones we've seen in Newfoundland and Labrador recently from hurricanes to ice storms," said John L. Byrne, Director General of the Canadian Red Cross in Atlantic Canada.

"These along with security incidents, other human-caused events and health risks are situations for which the Red Cross must have trained volunteers and adequate resources and infrastructure locally to respond."

To help launch the Prepared campaign in Newfoundland and Labrador, a pledge of $600,000 was made by Hibernia Management and Development Company Ltd. (HMDC).

"Safety is core to how we conduct our business at Hibernia," said Paul Leonard, president of HMDC. "Since this major initiative of the Canadian Red Cross is ultimately about the safety of people throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, we are pleased to be able to offer this support."

The Prepared campaign is led by a team of Canadian Red Cross volunteers, business and community leaders from Newfoundland and Labrador. Its chair is Jo Mark Zurel, President of Stonebridge Capital Incorporated, who has led by example in making his own $100,000 donation to the campaign.

"As a chartered accountant, I can't help but examine the business case for this campaign, and there is none stronger," said Mr. Zurel. "For the Red Cross to triple its volunteer base, become a model for disaster management training, and put the additional resources in place that it requires across Newfoundland and Labrador to respond when disaster strikes, and do it all for $2 million, is one of the most sound and comprehensive investments we can collectively make as a community."

More than $1.47 million has been pledged to the Prepared campaign to date.

Organizations: Red Cross, Hibernia, Stonebridge Capital

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John's, Atlantic Canada

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