Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

U-M, American Red Cross sign agreement on emergency sheltering

The university has signed an agreement with the American Red Cross that provides a broad framework for utilizing campus facilities in the event of a disaster.

U-M will assist the Red Cross by expanding its ability to "shelter in place" in the event of a local, state or national disaster for residents of Washtenaw and Lenawee counties. Eastern Michigan University also signed a similar agreement with the Red Cross.

"If suddenly a couple of hundred people and families needed immediate shelter, we don't want to add more suffering to their circumstance by having to wait for an authorization request to move through channels. The University of Michigan is prepared to help and offer its facilities as needed, now," says Jim Kosteva, director of community relations.

The Red Cross serves as a leader in supporting government agencies and other community organizations to build stronger disaster-response plans and capabilities in mass care. At the same time, the Red Cross continues its work to provide shelter, food, emotional support, first aid services, cleanup supplies and comfort items to people in need.

"As a volunteer-led organization, the Red Cross has decades of experience providing food, shelter, supplies and family reunification services, and we're pleased to sign these memorandum's of understanding with University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University to aid in disaster planning efforts across the Washtenaw County and Southeast Michigan," says Ashley Cieslinski, emergency services director of the Washtenaw–Lenawee Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Cieslinski adds that "disasters create an array of emergency needs resulting in more than any one organization or government agency can meet. Coordination and collaboration are essential to meet the needs of the community during disasters."