The American Red Cross North Texas Region is expanding its ability to connect with people during disasters with a new Digital Operations Center, powered by Dell.

The North Texas Digital Operations Center is the first outside of Washington, D.C., where the national Red Cross Digital Operations Center launched in March 2012. The new center will provide another location for additional social engagement—particularly during large regional disasters.

“We are grateful for Dell’s donation to expand our local and national social media program. Recent disasters have shown us that having a better view of the social conversation can help the Red Cross anticipate needs and connect more people with help,” said T.D. Smyers, CEO, American Red Cross North Texas Region. “The new listening center will also allow us to build a center of expertise through our digital volunteers who help provide social data for regional responses.”

The American Red Cross North Texas Region was the first local chapter to use digital volunteers to assist its community during emergencies like the West, Texas explosion and tornadoes in Granbury and Cleburne. For more than a year, digital volunteers here have focused on providing weather, preparedness and response information during emergencies of all sizes.

“Social listening and data solutions help our customers respond faster to their needs,“ said Trisa Thompson vice-president of Corporate Responsibility, Dell. “We are thrilled to expand our partnership with the American Red Cross and use our solutions and innovation services to help accelerate its humanitarian relief efforts across North Texas, also home to many of our Dell team members.”

Dell and the Red Cross have a shared vision to empower people to get involved in disaster response through social media. Dell’s donation will provide the Red Cross with computer equipment, funds and professional expertise to create the new Digital Operations Center and expand its Digital Volunteer Program. This donation follows Dell’s grant to build and launch the national Digital Operations Center . Dell is also partnering with the Red Cross to provide real-time social-analytics software to aid the organization’s health and safety preparedness efforts.

North Texas Region Digital Operations Center built on the success of the National Center
The national Digital Operations Center, powered by Dell, has enabled the Red Cross to connect more people with critical safety tips, relief information and emotional support during disasters. For example, before Superstorm Sandy made landfall, the Red Cross social team distributed information from the Digital Operations Center urging people to download the free Red Cross Hurricane app. This effort helped drive more than 400,000 downloads of the app and put vital preparedness information in people’s hands.

After Sandy made landfall, the Red Cross used the Digital Operations Center in Washington DC to collect more than 2 million public social media posts for analysis. For two months , more than 30 digital volunteers responded to thousands of individual posts through Facebook and Twitter. In nearly 90 cases, the Red Cross adjusted its services based on information gained through social data and the Digital Operations Center.

Digital Volunteer program expansion to increase online engagement
The latest grant from Dell is also helping the Red Cross expand its Digital Volunteer Program to train more people who will engage online with the public during emergencies.

Digital Volunteers are specially trained to use social media to engage with people who need help or emotional support and provide the Red Cross with real-time situational awareness.

In the past 24 months, more than 160 people have been trained nationwide and have started working as Digital Volunteers. Volunteers have served during tornado outbreaks, wildfires, hurricanes and emergencies.

The new Dell grant will enable the Red Cross to add an online, self-paced version of the Digital Volunteer training and expand the program to 10 Red Cross chapters across the nation. The Red Cross aims to add 200 additional digital volunteers by 2015.

About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

About Dell
Dell Inc. listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services that give them the power to do more. Powering the Possible is Dell’s commitment to put technology and expertise to work where it can do the most good for people and the planet. Dell works with nonprofits to address pressing social issues by donating a combination of Dell technologies and solutions, funding, expertise and volunteer support. In 2013, Dell’s giving impacted 17,000 charities, and Dell team members volunteered more than 739,000 hours in their communities. Learn more at www.dell.com/communities or follow us on Twitter at @Dell4Good.

twitter linkedin google facebook