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Climate change is a humanitarian issue | World First Aid Day | My Team app

18 September 2019

City Bay Run in SA

Hi everyone,

Over the weekend, 65 people represented Red Cross at the annual City to Bay fun run from Adelaide city to Glenelg beach. 

Among the participants was a life-sized Trauma Teddy! Almost $4,000 was raised to purchase hampers for Telecross and Transport clients who are particularly vulnerable over the festive season, often spending Christmas Day by themselves. 

The day was also supported by the Kidman Park Rotary Club and our emergency services volunteers who cooked breakfast for the Red Cross runners. Well done team Red Cross and a big thank you to all volunteers who helped out.

My Team supporting communities impacted by drought

At the recent Branch AGMs in Far North and Central Queensland, Win Smith (Chair, Queensland Divisional Advisory Board) spoke about the My Team app to Local Government leaders, Community Service Providers, and members of the general public who attended the meetings. 

"Did you know that this year 68% of Queensland has been affected by drought? Farmers and their families in particular, have been seriously impacted. Appeals have helped many of these farmers with financial assistance but the emotional and mental conditions have increased considerably.

The sharing session created a bit of a discussion from the leaders and our branch members and volunteers who commented on how valuable the app is. They’ve since been helped spread the word to families and friends living in drought areas. As a result, farmers responded and the feedback is that the My Team app is a simple tool to use. They are also recommending it to others to support them to cope and manage their wellbeing during these dry times.

I have spoken with some farmers who are finding it very hard to cope. Some are ready to walk away, and some are not able to continue due to the severe drought conditions and lack of water. There are farmers who have not seen water for over two years. The high temperatures are causing a major impact on their livelihood,” said Win.

The My Team app is a great tool to have for support. It is a “mobile team” of trusted people who are there for you, when you need them most, at a tap of a finger.

As of today, we've reached 10,000 downloads for the app. Kudos to the team who worked tirelessly on this app. It's great to know that we're reaching out to many who may need support. If you know anyone who’d benefit from this support, let them know that My Team is here.

Climate change is a humanitarian issue

I often write about Red Cross people supporting those facing weather-related events across the country due to hotter and drier conditions, including more intense heatwaves, droughts and fires. At other times it’s rainfall events and cyclones – events which are predicted to increase in frequency and intensity.

While Red Cross will be there to provide support, our work doesn’t stop there. Climate change is affecting billions of people worldwide, and people experiencing vulnerability are most at risk.

We’ve launched a social media campaign to spread the word on climate change – one of the biggest humanitarian challenges. Every day, we see the human impacts of extreme weather, the detrimental health and social impacts brought on by more frequent and intense disasters and silent crises like droughts and heatwaves.

What can we do to understand and adapt better to the impacts of climate change on humanity and how to prepare for it?

How can we better support migrants, elderly people, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who can be at higher risk from climate change?

The Cost of Doing Nothing

On Friday 20 September, IFRC President Francesco Rocca will be launching The Cost of Doing Nothing, a report that looks into the number of people who may need humanitarian aid over the next 10-30 years as a result of the projected increase in the frequency and intensity of natural hazards linked to climate change.

It also estimates the money that aid agencies will need if they are to ensure these people affected by floods, droughts, storms and wildfires are to receive emergency assistance.

The report urges governments and aid agencies to invest now in measures that will protect people from the impacts of climate change; measures that could prevent the suffering of millions of people and save billions of dollars. A link to the report will be made available on the Lounge when it goes live on Friday. I encourage you to have a read and think about our roles in supporting people affected by this change. 

World First Aid Day

Last week we marked World First Aid Day with a national campaign where we held the nation’s largest ever multicultural first aid training sessions in every state and territory, in all 13 of our training locations. What a massive team effort and collaboration between First Aid and Mental Health and Migration Support Programs. Many trainers, the Migration Support Programs team and volunteers donated their time to bring the campaign to life. Thank you for your time and energy. We had over 400 people registered to attend and feedback from participants was incredibly positive – people were grateful to have learnt a lifesaving skill.

We’ve also had excellent media coverage across national TV, radio and print. If you missed them, check out this Sydney dad’s remarkable survival.  

At the same time, our work doesn’t end there. Our first aid e-book is currently being translated into 13 languages to extend our reach too many communities.

Building resilient communities

First Aid is in Red Cross’ DNA and plays a critical role in saving lives, building resilient communities and supporting people in disasters. Our team is pivotal in connecting our organisation with the community we serve to achieve our humanitarian goals.

Driven by an aging population, rapid population growth, and an increase in disasters, we are finding a need for greater reach and accessibility of first aid training, with a growing demand for more people to have first aid knowledge within our workplaces and communities.

There is also a strong move towards mental health training. The community has a greater appreciation and awareness of how mental health affects behaviour and wellbeing. To keep up with growing demand we are putting the customer back at the core of what we do, and including first aid as part of every discussion we have with our corporate partners. 

A critical and key focus this year is to ‘make it easier for people to book’ with Red Cross. Through investing in better systems and technology, we will have be able to grow our corporate partnerships, improve processing times, increase engagement with our customers, and grow revenue.

We have made improvements to our online learning and identified internal opportunities across the organisation to provide services in mental health given the high number of vulnerable people Red Cross works with. There are great opportunities to improve our supply of products such as defibrillators and first aid kits to businesses within our communities - with key projects already seeing positive results.

In general, we:

  • train just under 50,000 people a year in first aid and mental health
  • deliver over 1,200 courses per month
  • provide training to over 600 organisation each year
  • have approximately 90 trainers nationally
  • offer a free First Aid App

The First Aid and Mental Health team wants to become the internal ‘trainer of choice’ for Red Cross. We recently held a staff Lunch and Learn session on RUOK? day around Deciding to Support Health and we have plans to review internal training opportunities for Red Cross staff and volunteers.

World First Aid Day is a great example of how we are leveraging working with other departments and teams and finding ways to take advantage of existing internal campaigns.

That’s all for this week. Chat to you soon.