Relying on the Red Cross

I’m involved in a little conversation on another forum about getting prepared to bug out in case of wildfire (we have livestock, so it’s a big deal).

Every time someone directs me to contact the Red Cross to “find the resources I need” I get a little fried. They’re just trying to be helpful, but (as if I never heard of the Red Cross) I can’t figure out why they default to throwing your fate into the hands of a government subsidized “organization” instead of “I can take care of my own”.

Somewhere around here I have an article (oh!  I just remembered where it is!) about what a bloated, bogged down, government funded “non-profit” the Red Cross is.

I want to yell “Ever heard of taking care of your SELF?”  I know emergency agencies care for millions, but that may be just the problem.  In our area, the PNW, if something like the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake ever happened, we’ve been told in no uncertain terms, that NO agency will send personnel into an area until that area is considered safe.  In case of “the Big One”, that could be months or years. And affect tens of thousands, if not millions.

That reads “You’re On Your Own” to me. First line of defense is personal preparedness.  I’m not that far along, but I can sure as heck bug out successfully in a wildfire scenario (at least I THINK I can!)

Just decompressing, so I don’t say something rude on that other forum.


  • Comments (6)

    • 2

      Ironically, I think the Red Cross would agree with you about not relying on them if you can avoid it. There’s a reason they teach first aid classes for the public.

      Evacuating with livestock sounds extraordinarily difficult. I’m curious about the approach you come up with.

      • 2

        Eric, I wrote this in 2021. https://theprepared.com/forum/thread/fire-and-ice-go-or-stay/ , which was really our introduction to REALLY needing to prepare.

        As long as there’s some advance warning about fire danger, prepping to bug out with the horses amounts to packing for a horse camping trip for a week or so.  Beyond that, since wildfire isn’t likely to take out wide scale services nearby, we could buy what we need as we run out of stuff.

        Since we have no nice camper or “living quarters” horse trailer, though, where stuff can be stored permanently, I am slogging through getting everything needed for tent camping into tubs and ready to fly out the door when evac notifications come.

    • 1

      I don’t think the Red Cross is as bad as you suggest–they’ve been around a long time and have deep understanding of what to do in crises. Nonetheless you’re right that too many people overestimate (if they even think about it) what kind of help is available. If anything, the reason the RC puts most of its communications into promoting preparedness suggests they’re pretty realistic. 

      It’s annoying to hear people being blase’ about preparedness. Some people are paralyzed by the notion, but a lot of people just don’t care. I’m still astonished at the number of times people have referred to my preps as “survivalism” (i.e., lunacy) even right after a crisis when people are comparing how they got through it. 

      When I discuss it socially, assuming peple won’t immediately write me off as a nut, my summary of prepping is that 50% of it is stuff that you’d own/do/think about if you lived in the country, and the other 50% of it is stuff that you’d own/do/think about if you camp regularly. But people love their talking points and slogans.

      My best to you, and hoping you aren’t in the path of another wildfire.

    • 1

      Hey Barb

      Well done on taking your own steps. 
      I always have great admiration for those who have to bug out with  large animals just thinking back to my own childhood and my sisters horse who would happily walk into a horse box but not a towing trailer! 

      Are there other more local resources for your area than just Red Cross? Although I was amazed at how basic my local government guidance was! 

      • 1

        Hi sewknot,

        I don’t actually know who would take care of what in an “actual” emergency.  Although we live “within” a large urban area (that is better at creating human crises than dealing with them), we’re far enough outside the core that it’s just essential to be at least somewhat self sufficient.  Being told to “call the Red Cross” just rubbed me wrong.  Of course the original sentiment was well intended, it just came off as condescending and rather naive.

        The only evacuation we’ve ever experienced was in the 2020 wildfires and that was complete pandemonium, from our perspective.  Virtually the entire county (over 400,000 souls) was at some level of evacuation notice. Much of the county is served by little two lane country roads. It appeared to us that there was no coordination of any sort.  Official response to actually dealing with the displaced population just seemed to be panic, knee-jerk decision making. But I’m sure the Red Cross was an important presence.  Somewhere. I wasn’t disrespecting the Red Cross. 

      • 1

        I hear ya! 
        in terms of being rubbed the wrong way I know exactly where you’re coming from🤐😅 !