The American Red Cross Serving Oklahoma is responsible for the safety and preparedness of Oklahomans living in 77 counties.
The Red Cross responds to a disaster nearly every day– primarily home fires to provide immediate comfort, immediate care, and immediate assistance to families when they need it most.
In the days following a disaster, the Red Cross provides mental health counseling, cleaning supplies, basic kitchen wares and assistance with replacing critical medications and medical equipment such as canes, hearing aids and dentures. The Red Cross also provides financial help with first month’s rent and security deposits as needed.
The Red Cross also teaches people how to save lives through CPR, First Aid, AED and aquatics training. We bring military families closer together, delivering critical family emergency messages to Oklahomans serving in the U.S. Armed Forces and providing support for their families here at home.
The services we provide to our communities are possible only through the work of volunteers and generous financial donations from companies, foundations and individuals and we are grateful for all of those who support the American Red Cross and its humanitarian mission.
A major wildfire in northeast Oklahoma destroyed hundreds of homes in Creek County, and the Eastern Oklahoma Red Cross assisted more than 400 families who suffered devastating losses of homes and property. In December, the Eastern Oklahoma Red Cross responded to an ice storm in the area of Hugo, Okla. where residents were without power for several days. Red Cross shelters provide housing for the area during the storm.
The year began with Red Cross sheltering travelers along the I-44 corridor who became stranded by twin blizzards that dropped nearly 30 inches of snow. In April, the chapter opened a shelter just hours after a deadly tornado struck Tushka in southeastern Oklahoma. In May, floods ravaged northeast Oklahoma. By August, wildfires were raging in drought-stricken Oklahoma and the Red Cross provided record canteen support for emergency workers, and opened shelters for families affected by the fires.
The Eastern Oklahoma Red Cross sheltered and assisted hundreds devastated by crippling ice storms that knocked out power in both January and December.
The Tulsa chapter supported more than 1,450 Hurricane Katrina evacuees from New Orleans at Camp Gruber near Muskogee.
Central Oklahoma Chapter responds to terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Within one-two days, all airports closed, with experienced volunteers responding to a multitude of disasters. The Chapter offered support and guidance to the Chapters affected, and sent local family members of the Oklahoma City Bombing to support those who lost loved ones. Once again, our Chapter took on more jurisdictions to include eastern Caddo and Grady counties. These changes brought our total jurisdiction to five counties served by our Chapter facilities in Oklahoma City, Midwest City, Prague and Chickasha.
May 3, 1999, an F5 tornado, the most devastating tornado in the State’s history, and the largest tornado ever recorded.
April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. This event brought the community together and collaborations between other agencies, as well as creating the need for Mental Health. The Red Cross responds with 9,500 volunteers, providing food, shelter, First Aid, crisis counseling and more. In addition, our jurisdiction grew to include Kingfisher and Lincoln counties.
HIV/AIDS education program introduced.
The area served by the Tulsa Red Cross was devastated by tornadoes in May. On Memorial Day weekend, deadly floods raged through Tulsa providing a catalyst for what is now an internationally recognized floodwater management plan and infrastructure.
With KOCO-TV the Chapter made the first locally produced TV program in the United States on First Aid. 80,000 viewers took the First Aid test.
Oklahoma County Chapter pioneered a program on disaster equipment storage that shortened response time in outlying areas. This began the concept of combined service territories.
Lost Children’s Booth at the State Fair was initiated.
Central Oklahoma Chapter volunteers gave 64,000 hours of service.
Junior Red Cross members planted and delivered 500 potted plants to V.A. Hospital patients.
The first United Fund Red Cross Campaign drive was held; a predecessor to the United Way. A new artificial respiration method was introduced to Red Cross First Aid.
The Tulsa Red Cross blood service began operations and was one of the first cooperative donor centers in the United States.
A survey showed that 52% of all school age children did not know how to swim. A two week “Learn to Swim” campaign taught 4,716 students.
Motor Corps services to Tinker personnel expanded to provide community transportation for medical appointments.
Campaign headed by Governor Robert S. Kerr to raise $261,500 in support of the War Fund (goal was surpassed by $17,000 in just 2 weeks).
World War II
The Volunteer Special Services was reorganized by Alice Hyde. First Aid Instruction was accelerated. A Mobile Red Cross Canteen was set up at Santa Fe Railroad Station. Day rooms for service men were furnished with home furniture, books, games, musical instruments and snacks. 513 nurses’ aids were certified; 385 Canteen Corps volunteers gave 11,142 hours; and 3,637,800 surgical dressings were made by 4,000 volunteers.
1000 people instructed in life saving during the summer. City ordinance passed to make it compulsory to have qualified lifeguards at park swimming pools.
A violent and deadly race riot ravaged Tulsa. In the days following the upheaval, the Red Cross housed and fed more than 4,000 in shelters. Approximately 2,000 others were given refuge where structures were still standing.
First Red Cross public health nurses in the Oklahoma City area are trained.
The Indian Territory branch of the Red Cross was established in 1906 with the Chiefs of the Five Civilized Tribes serving as Vice Presidents of the new organization. As Oklahoma marked nearly 10 years of statehood, the Tulsa chapter was officially formed on May 18, 1917. Oklahoma City also established a chapter the same year.