GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — American Red Cross assists military members, civilians and their families in the event of an emergency, unexpected illness or death in the family, via emergency communication.
“The emergency communication process is certainly one of the most important and discernible services we provide, but there are some misunderstandings of what we do, and how the process works. Many community members are also unaware of the full scope of services we provide,” said Chelsea White, Regional Program Manager for the American Red Cross at U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria.
Knowing the process and requirements helps applicants expedite the process of obtaining assistance in a family crisis or emergency.
The emergency communication process provided by the American Red Cross is in accordance with Army Regulation 600-8-10 to aid the following:
According to Army Regulation 600-8-10 specific information is required when initiating the message.
Required information includes full name, rank, branch of service, social security number, military address and, for deployed Soldiers or civilians, information about the deployed unit and home base unit.
Savannah Robinson, the field office coordinator for the American Red Cross Vilseck Complex, explained, “An essential step is to provide information of when and where the incident occurred. It must be verifiable information, so as to not hinder the verification process,” adding “the patient’s permission to send a Red Cross message must be presented in cases of illness.”
According to Robinson, the Red Cross contacts the patient’s doctor for information in cases of illnesses, and gets patient’s current status. This is done in order to receive either diagnosis and prognosis, and life expectancy. The Red Cross must also obtain the doctor’s recommendation on the member accompanying the patient. It is also standard in cases of death to obtain the date and time of death, and cause of death. The Red Cross then verifies funeral information.
“Although we provide many opportunities for families, the American Red Cross is Congressionally Chartered to serve on military installations because of our Emergency Communications service,” said White.
The process provided by the American Red Cross is expeditious and detailed.
“The Red Cross provides objective, timely, confidential, complete and verified information regarding an emergency situation affecting an immediate family member,” said White.
The American Red Cross works in partnership with other organizations to provide comprehensive service.
“The Hero Care Network connects military families when emergencies occur, such as the death or illness of an immediate family member. They assist 24 hours a day, 365 days a year through our global communication network,” said White.
“Following the intake step — with all information verified — the process is finalized and we release the message via phone to the unit’s staff duty. They are familiarized on how to take and deliver the emergency message and proceed as needed,” said Robinson. “This information assists the unit commander to make an immediate and sound decision to grant or deny emergency leave.”
According to Christopher L. Edwards, Financial Counselor & Assistant Army Emergency Relief Officer at USAG Bavaria Army Community Service, the American Red Cross facilitates emergency financial assistance on behalf of Military Aid Societies, but does not offer financial aid. However, emergency leave travel at government expense is authorized in accordance with DODI 1327.06 and the Joint Federal Travel Regulation.
Family members back home can initiate one online or call 1-877-272-7337. Locally, service members, family members and Department of Defense civilians at USAG Bavaria may visit or call their local American Red Cross office at Tower Barracks at DSN 475-1760, CIV 09641-83-1760, Rose Barracks DSN 476-1760, CIV 09662- 83-1760 or Hohenfels DSN 466-1760, CIV 09662 – 83-1760, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.
For after-hours assistance, call toll free 1-877-272-7337 or submit an emergency assistance request online.
According to White, the American Red Cross provides emergency communications, training, support to wounded warriors and veterans, and access to community resources.
For more on questions about Red Cross, contact USAG Bavaria Red Cross at DSN 475-1760, CIV 09662-83-1760, find them on Facebook at Facebook.com/ARCGRAFVILSECK or visit American Red Cross at Redcross.org.