When disaster strikes a community, unaffected members often feel helpless. Many want to offer assistance, but aren’t sure how to contribute. But with the right tools, giving the unaffected the ability to make a difference to neighbors in need can strengthen a community for years to come.
With much of the state situated squarely in tornado alley, Kansans are no stranger to natural disasters and the desire to help others in need. In response, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS) has empowered its employees to make a difference during disaster relief efforts.
The BCBSKS Disaster Response Team is a unique partnership between BCBSKS and the Kansas chapters of the American Red Cross. The program is a new endeavor for both BCBSKS and the Red Cross, which provides required basic training to a 30-member team.
When destructive storms strike in the BCBSKS service area, BCBSKS allows employees to deploy and assist in the aftermath for as long as the Red Cross needs their assistance. In addition, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation makes annual contributions to the Kansas Red Cross chapters to support health-related services during disasters.
The program, which was conceived by a group of BCBSKS employees during a company-led 18 month leadership development program, also aims to help prepare other employees for disaster through education. Company-wide sessions are led by Red Cross employees and volunteers to teach BCBSKS employees how to create an emergency plan in case of disaster.
Programs like this one are the embodiment of The Power of Blue, the collective commitment of Blue Cross Blue Shield companies to make a difference in the communities we serve. Whether that means working to improve healthcare access, enable healthier living or improve healthcare quality and affordability, Blue Cross Blue Shield companies across the U.S. share in this mission.