By Andrew Hopkins, Communications Advisor in British Columbia

At the Canadian Red Cross, we talk a lot about personal preparedness. Be ready for disasters by knowing the risks, making a plan, and getting an emergency kit. But how does the Red Cross prepare for these situations?

Ongoing exercises and training will help volunteers and staff respond effectively. Partnerships with other agencies can help with readiness, and the Red Cross continually looks around the world for best practices in disaster response.

Thanks to funding from supporters like Walmart Canada and its customers, the Red Cross has stocks of relief supplies in more than 25 strategic locations across the country.You may not know that the Red Cross also has a network of warehouses in key locations throughout Canada. Thanks to funding from supporters like Walmart Canada and its customers, the Red Cross has stocks of relief supplies in more than 25 strategic locations across the country. Our logistics team makes sure important emergency supplies like cots, blankets, and hygiene kits with basics like soap and toothpaste are always ready to go. You’ll even find teddy bears in storage to help younger evacuees when they need a toy to distract from the challenges around them.


Aldis Brennan and Lisa Hanssens organize hygiene kits at the Canadian Red Cross Warehouse space in Kamloops, B.C. Photo credit: Marko Kokic/Canadian Red Cross


“Many Red Cross warehouses rely on a dedicated team of local volunteers to keep inventory organized, track expiry dates, identify emerging needs and to make sure our stock is always ready to deploy,” said Elysia Dempsey, Director of B.C. Fires Operations with the Canadian Red Cross.

Walmart’s support helps Red Cross make sure its volunteers have the training they need to keep the shelves full in cities like Calgary, Mississauga, and Kelowna. During last summer’s B.C. wildfires more than $1 million in supplies from warehouses like these helped thousands of people through the first few days and weeks after they were forced from their homes. Through that response, the Canadian Red Cross acquired additional warehouse space in Kamloops, B.C. as the wildfires spread across thousands of square kilometres and impacted dozens of surrounding communities.

“The national warehouse strategy can help Red Cross stock and quickly deliver emergency supplies to people in need whenever disasters strike,” added Dempsey.

Items can be stored and moved strategically based on weather patterns and other variables as disaster risks change throughout the year. The storage spaces can even play a vital part in longer term disaster recovery, giving easy access to things like clean-up kits with gloves, brooms, dust masks, and other cleaning supplies that can help people return to their homes after lengthy evacuations.  

Until March 9, you can help the Canadian Red Cross be ready to assist families affected by disasters with a donation at the till when you shop at Walmart stores across Canada.