Tuesday, February 9, 2016

On the Defensive Team at the Super Bowl 50 Championship Rally

By Patricia Billinger
The oft-repeated mantra going into Super Bowl 50 was that in a show-down between a No. 1 offense and a No. 1 defense, the defense usually wins. And here we are in Denver, celebrating Super Bowl champs.
Red Cross volunteers stand ready to provide first aid and
other emergency assistance at the #SB50 rally.

While hundreds of thousands of people descended on Denver’s Civic Center Park to celebrate their national champions today, the Red Cross was proud to be part of a different defensive team: the team working together to keep those fans safe and to serve them should anything go wrong. Just like in football, it takes the involvement of a variety of specialized, skilled players united under a leader, each playing a role in the success of the team effort. In this case, our goal was to protect public safety and be prepared to respond to any emergency that could arise, from individual medical needs to a terrorist attack.

 Some of the defensive team members were visible, such as the police, fire and EMS spread throughout the crowd. Others were behind the scenes, planning for the massive gathering, preparing and positioning resources for various scenarios, and managing the situation real-time.

More than a dozen Red Cross workers – mostly volunteers – participated in supporting public safety and preparedness for the Super Bowl champions rally. The Red Cross staged two emergency vehicles in Civic Center Park, staffed by six volunteers trained in CPR and basic first aid. The volunteers served as a support and reinforcement to the medical teams provided by Denver Health Paramedics. 

With the Denver Health Paramedic Division as the Incident Command for the operation (or the head coach, you might say), Red Cross emergency response experts staffed the emergency operations center alongside other key partners in public safety. We also placed volunteers, shelters and resources on standby to be ready to open and operate an emergency shelter should the need have arisen.

Most of the people at today’s rally didn’t notice any of this defensive team at work. And that’s how it should be: like a good set of Tackles protecting the quarterback so he can focus on the opportunities ahead instead of worrying about being attacked from his blind side.

If you're looking to be part of the team that helps keep Coloradans from being "sacked" by disasters, the Red Cross is always in need of volunteers willing to train, practice and show up when the time comes. Visit to get started. 

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